Are you encouraging insecurity via your website forms?Friday, April 15th, 2016
Many websites have “contact us” pages and include web forms for receiving requests from existing or potential customers. This includes “new patient intake” forms on healthcare providers’ websites. However, if you aren’t using a secure form solution, your web forms may suffer from several serious problems:
- Spam – Getting unwanted form submissions from bots.
- Privacy – Often, sensitive data is submitted insecurely through these forms.
- Archival – You may need an archived record and backup of all submissions.
- Notices – You may need to be alerted of form submissions, even if you are not online.
Proactive privacy vs. neglect of privacy
When web forms transmit or store data insecurely or otherwise do not treat the data submitted with the level of protection it deserves, you are putting the users of your forms at risk.
The typical argument is that “it is up to the user of the forms to decide if they want to submit sensitive information.” Many insecure forms even have disclaimers requesting people not to submit sensitive information if they have concerns and then ask lots of sensitive questions. Especially without a disclaimer, but even with one, the form is actively soliciting people to submit their information insecurely and requesting them to take risks with their private data. This is not good.
In areas such as healthcare, where these forms are often collecting sensitive health data (protected health information – PHI), the fact that an organization solicits the submission of PHI through insecure, non-HIPAA-compliant means is far from a “best practice.” Why does this happen?
- Securing forms is trivial and inexpensive. As the bar is so low for collecting data in a compliant way, it could be considered neglectful to not bother with security and privacy and continue to solicit data insecurely.
- People can insecurely send you their own personal PHI any time … when it is done of their own accord. However, when you provide them with a recommended communication channel, and when that channel is not secure, you need to get informed consent from them before you accept the data through that channel. Informed consent means:
- Training them in the risks involved.
- Getting their explicit sign-off indicating their acceptance of these risks.
- Capturing and saving those signed consent forms.
Getting signed consent must be done appropriately, and it imposes a barrier in front of your forms. There is no reason to go through all the work to set up informed consent when it is simpler to secure the forms themselves.
You can block form spam, ensure content security and privacy, archive form submissions, and even get text message notices of new submissions to your phone using LuxSci Secure Form. And it takes only a couple of minutes to integrate a secure form into any existing website at any web hosting provider.
How does Secure Form Integrate with a Website Form?
How Does Secure Form deal with Spam, Encryption, Archival, and Notices?
Secure Form enables privacy and security by allowing you to ensure that the form data is encrypted from the end-user to your email inbox. It enables the automatic use of secure email delivery, secure FTP uploads, secure online document storage, and more. You can use any or all of these data capture methods.
Secure Form enables archival by saving copies of all form posts in an online document storage area, uploading copies to your FTP site, or saving copies in a database that you can access as needed.
Secure Form enables notices by allowing you to have text messages sent to up to 5 different mobile devices when each form post is submitted. This is in addition to the form data being emailed to where it needs to go. You and your staff can be informed in real-time of new posts, no matter where you are.
LuxSci Secure Form is the swiss army knife of web and PDF form processing tools, integrating quickly with existing websites and providing form security even if your website is not already secured with TLS.