Healthcare in the USA is an enormously competitive industry where regulatory oversight is strict and encompasses all manner of activity. On top of that, the needs of healthcare organizations are extremely complex and the importance of the services they deliver mean that processes and practices need to be as streamlined as possible.
Due to the sensitivity of patient data, it is vital that organizations take every precaution to meet regulatory compliance mandates without disrupting business processes. The direct relationship that patient data has to the health of patients means that any mistake or lack of precision can have a significant impact.
In addition to the ethical and moral responsibility for data protection that healthcare providers are bound by; the competitive nature of the industry necessitates transparency and effectiveness when it comes to data governance.
Data Classification for HIPAA Compliance
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, defines stringent requirements for data privacy and data security for organizations in the healthcare industry. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) later increased the strictness of HIPAA compliance and updated it for modern businesses and technology.
Organizations in the healthcare industry require solutions that enable to locate and tag data relating to HIPAA, including Protected Health Information (PHI) and Personally Identifiable Information (PII). In many ways, locating and classifying the data itself is the first step in achieving HIPAA compliance, as you won’t know what to protect without it.
Getting a top-down view of the covered unstructured data you store, process or handle enables you to better align your business with compliance regulations.
Data Classification for PCI Compliance
The Payment Card Industry (PCI) is not always immediately thought of when you picture the healthcare industry. However, many modern healthcare organizations are taking an increasing number of card payments, including from cafeterias, gift shops and pharmacies, so PCI compliance needs to be addressed. To ensure that you are compliant with PCI, you need to be proficient at finding and labelling payment card information so that you can apply the appropriate access controls.
Data Classification for Data Security
We have gone through why healthcare data is important. A healthcare record, according to a Trustwave report published in 2018, can fetch up to $250 on the black market. To put this perspective, the next record with the highest value is payment card information, which fetches on average $5.50. This puts a large target on the back of patient data and makes stringent security practices essential.
Healthcare organizations have numerous reasons to secure data besides the monetary penalties of non-compliance. Companies that suffer data breaches involving personally identifiable information lose trust with their consumer base and that reputational damage can be devastating in competitive industries.
Data discovery and data classification are the most logical places to start when devising your security strategy. Data classification solutions enable to locate and tag your data so that you know where your most sensitive data is and get context as to why it is sensitive. Once you know this, the next step will be to ensure the right people have access to that sensitive data. Then, you will need to deploy a solution that tracks user behavior with that data and spots anomalies so that you can detect and react to potential data breaches.