Is Your IT HIPAA Compliant? 4 Common Mistakes Businesses Make

When you’re in the healthcare industry, making sure your systems are HIPAA compliant is a big deal. After all, fines for HIPAA violations can range from $100 to $50,000 each, so ignoring potential violations isn’t an option. 

That’s why you need to make sure your entire office is HIPAA compliant, even if that means hiring HIPAA compliance experts to help you with this task. Unfortunately, not all companies in healthcare make this kind of effort, leading to common mistakes that have major consequences. 

The following are just a few of the most common mistakes businesses make when it comes to HIPAA.

1. Assuming Cybercriminals Won’t Target Your Company

One of the biggest mistakes is thinking cybercriminals want nothing to do with your business. If you’re in the healthcare field, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, this is among the most commonly targeted industries, as data breaches cost healthcare about $5.6 billion in damages annually. 

Cybercriminals often launch ransomware attacks, shutting down large networks unless they get the ransom they demand, while phishing attacks can get them access to passwords and other sensitive information. 

Either way, healthcare is a big target for cybercrime, which makes it important to work with HIPAA compliance experts for the best protection possible.

2. Not Educating Employees About Phishing Attacks

Nearly 60% of cybersecurity incidents in the healthcare industry begin with phishing attacks, so it’s critical that you educate your employees on how to avoid them. If you’re not familiar with phishing, it’s when the cybercriminal sends an email with a link or file that’s corrupted. 

When the recipient clicks the link or downloads the file, malware is installed on the computer, giving the cybercriminal access to sensitive information—which could easily lead to HIPAA violations. 

To prevent your employees from being tricked this way, it’s important to educate them on how to recognize and report phishing emails. In many cases, you can even hire HIPAA compliance experts to teach your staff best practices on avoiding phishing.

3. Not Encrypting Devices Properly

Another mistake you might be making is not ensuring that all devices used for work are properly encrypted. After all, encryption is meant to turn data into a format that’s unreadable by anyone who doesn’t have the password.

 If you’re not doing this on the devices used at your company, you’re leaving data vulnerable to cybercriminals who are working hard to get ahold of it. 

4. Failing to Report Stolen or Lost Electronic Devices

Losing a device that you use for work is bad enough, but did you know you could face consequences if you don’t quickly report it lost or stolen? If you use that device to store or access the private health information of patients, you need to not only make a report when it’s no longer in your possession but also prove it was encrypted

Otherwise, important data could be stolen, and you could be fined for a HIPAA violation.

Luckily, hiring HIPAA compliancy experts to handle your IT needs can help you avoid these common mistakes in healthcare. So if you want some peace of mind that you’re greatly reducing your chances of facing HIPAA fines, you should get assistance from an IT team that knows the healthcare field.