" covid-19 Archives - LuxSci FYI Blog: Learn about HIPAA email encryption, secure email encryption, and more

Posts Tagged ‘covid-19’

LuxSci is Offering Free Secure Email During COVID-19 Pandemic

Thursday, April 23rd, 2020

High Volume COVID-19 Test Results Communicated Quickly and Securely

See press release from April 23, 2020.

The evolving COVID-19 pandemic continues to place extreme strain on healthcare services and diagnostic labs needing to communicate critical information, such as test results, quickly and efficiently.  These organizations are nevertheless still constrained by HIPAA regulations. LuxSci is extending its offer for free HIPAA-compliant emailing services through October 1st, 2020 to help them cope with these demands and to speed time-sensitive communications.  Interested organizations may apply at our website: LuxSci COVID-19.

COVID-19 LuxSci

LuxSci’s CEO, Erik Kangas, stressed the importance of secure email for medical test results:

“Email communication sounds mundane, but right now it can literally save lives and help us bootstrap our way back to normal more safely.  As the country starts to open up and we struggle to socially distance, knowing your results days or hours sooner may be the difference between attending an event or staying home. As I watch friends and family fall sick and fear for others, I realize that this is one unique way that we can make a small but important difference.  LuxSci is one of the few companies that has positioned itself to provide high volumes of truly HIPAA-compliant email.”

High volumes of testing and retesting will continue through the foreseeable future, thus leading to an urgent need to deliver test results to increasingly large numbers of people in a timely and secure manner.  Use of email for health care communications supports this. It’s instantaneous and ubiquitous. Even with the advent of “instant COVID-19 testing,” lab-based testing remains crucial as it provides the most accurate data about infection.

LuxSci is providing its HIPAA-compliant transactional email service free to any organization delivering COVID-19-related health or safety information. (Some restrictions may apply.)  Services are available to testing labs as well as healthcare organizations of any size: those with modest needs (up 25,000 messages/month) and high-capacity needs (millions of messages per month).  Typical pricing for these services ranges from $100/month to well over $1000/month, depending on the volume.

Interested organizations may apply by visiting our website: LuxSci Covid-19.

 


(Previous content: March 13th, 2020 – See Press Release)

In response to the US declaration of a COVID-19 public health emergency, LuxSci is offering companies the ability to send free High Volume HIPAA-compliant health/safety-related email securely, free of charge, until July 1st, 2020.

CEO Erik Kangas said,

“Communication during the COVID-19 emergency is essential, and LuxSci wants to help. That’s why, starting immediately, we are offering eligible companies the ability to share vital information with their employees and consumers free of charge. We hope the six-month window will be generous enough for this health emergency to resolve out of crisis mode and into maintenance mode.”

He added,

“We are providing accounts for sending up to 25,000 emails per month to smaller organizations with modest needs.  For larger organizations, who may need to send into the millions of messages each month, we are providing free dedicated server sending solutions.”  Both solutions are free through July 1st.   With CoronaVirus fears taking hold, the need for secure communication is in unprecedented demand. Our goal is to help protect personal information from predation during this crisis and to facilitate the fast, secure communication of critical information, such as medical testing results.  If we can give companies and consumers one less thing to worry about, this is the right thing to do.”

LuxSci’s HIPAA-compliant email solutions enable companies to send PHI and other sensitive information during mission-critical or sensitive sending scenarios.

This promotion is available to all new eligible US clients; terms and conditions apply.  Existing customers who have a similar need can also apply.

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Secure & Compliant Remote Work: Coronavirus & Working from Home

Thursday, April 16th, 2020

working from home during coronavirus pandemic

 

Less than a month ago, a secure and compliant remote work policy may have been far from the minds of many in company leadership. Now that the coronavirus pandemic is steaming ahead, our personal and work lives have been flipped upside down and we are all struggling to make the necessary adjustments.

Many businesses have closed their offices and have employees working from home, which is a great compromise for keeping operations ongoing and allowing people to retain their incomes.

However, the sudden move to working from home is a big jump for many companies and their employees, particularly if an existing remote work policy isn’t in place. Organizations need to tread carefully, because, with certain exceptions such as telehealth, coronavirus doesn’t change their security and compliance obligations.

This is especially critical for organizations that process electronic protected health information (ePHI) and for employees that deal with valuable or sensitive data. If the appropriate precautions aren’t taken, companies could breach regulations like HIPAA or PCI DSS, and face the significant penalties that come with violations. 

They may also have their sensitive data stolen by cybercriminals or leaked through negligence, which could lead to all kinds of problems, ranging from the theft of intellectual property to blackmail.

How Can Organizations Establish a Secure & Compliant Remote Work Policy

Even in these difficult times, a secure and compliant remote work policy needs to be designed carefully. This will ensure that it meets the requirements of the company and its employees, as well as any legal obligations and the needs of customers and clients.

To address each of these needs, all of these stakeholders should be involved in the process. It’s critical to get legal advice, as well as engage security experts, to make sure that the policy and technical measures are adequate for your company’s unique circumstances.

A secure and compliant remote work policy should include:

 

  • Who is covered, when, and in which situations.
  • What the organization’s responsibilities and obligations are.
  • What the employee’s responsibilities and obligations are.
  • What hardware and software must be used, and in what configurations.
  • What security and privacy measures should be in place.
  • How reliability and availability will be ensured.

 

Companies may still have certain legal obligations for their remote workers, so a secure and compliant remote work policy needs to take these into account. For example, the company may still need to take measures to ensure that laws such as the Fair Labor Standards Act are followed, and that employees are working in a safe environment. 

Once your company has developed its remote work policy, it should have each of its employees sign it, so that they are aware of the expectations and committed to following them.

What Security Measures Do Companies Need as Part of Their Remote Work Policies?

The particular measures will vary from situation to situation, depending on a company’s setup, the regulations it is subject to, the data assets it has, as well as how it transmits and stores valuable or sensitive information.

Some measures for remote work, found in the HITRUST and other security guidelines, include:

 

  • All data should be encrypted when it is transmitted over public networks. FIPS-approved ciphers should be implemented in any of the security protocols used.
  • Wireless access points should be encrypted with AES WPA2 as a minimum security standard.
  • Emails and other digital messages should be protected from end-to-end and sensitive information should never be sent without encryption.
  • Faxes should only be used for protected information if more secure alternatives are not possible.
  • Employees should use VPNs to connect to corporate systems, and all traffic should flow through the VPN. Any access should be remotely logged and monitored. Unauthorized connections should be monitored and reviewed quarterly at a minimum, and appropriate actions should be taken after the review process.
  • Effective authorization systems need to be in place for privileged connections and for access to sensitive business information. Remote administration sessions should have heightened security measures in place.
  • The authentication process for remote devices should include additional measures on top of passwords, such as the verification of IP or MAC addresses.
  • Employee use of portable storage devices should be strictly controlled and the information should be encrypted. 
  • Any data transfers outside of controlled areas require approval and the details need to be recorded. Cryptographic measures need to be in place to protect the integrity and confidentiality of data when it is transferred.
  • Sensitive or valuable data should not be available to unauthorized individuals or left unattended. This includes leaving the information out on desks, on printers, or viewable by others on computer monitors.
  • External services (such as new SaaS vendors) should not be used to store or transmit information without prior approval.
  • Controls and training should be in place if personal devices are allowed to be used in the workplace.

Solutions for Secure & Compliant Remote Work

In the wake of the rapid spread of coronavirus and the significant changes it has brought, many companies are scrambling to provide secure and compliant remote work solutions to their employees.

This poses a significant challenge, because when new systems are implemented abruptly, it can easily lead to mistakes. If these errors involve data leaks or compliance violations, they can have huge long term consequences for businesses.

To minimize these risks, the best option is to use well-established and specialized solutions like LuxSci’s many offerings. All of our products are designed from the ground up to be secure and comply with various sets of regulations, as well as to optimize our users’ workflows, convenience and efficiency.

These services include our secure and HIPAA-compliant email service, as well as tools like SecureText and Secure Video. The rise of coronavirus may have been an unexpected interruption, but adopting LuxSci’s safe and carefully designed tools can help to prevent further threats from harming your business in these difficult times.

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