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What is HIPAA-Compliant Cloud Storage?

Friday, November 11th, 2016

HIPAA-compliant cloud storage complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) to ensure the security of healthcare patients’ data stored on remote servers accessed from the internet.

HIPAA governs how healthcare providers and their business associates, as defined in the Act, can store, manage, and share personal health information (PHI). If you’re a healthcare provider (or a cloud storage provider working with a healthcare provider), it’s important to understand how HIPAA applies to cloud storage.

With the rising popularity of services like iCloud and Dropbox, many people and companies have become more comfortable with cloud storage. There’s no question these services are convenient; being able to access universally synced data anytime, anywhere, from any device, is incredible.

HIPAA-compliant cloud storage

But that doesn’t mean these services are HIPAA-compliant. HIPAA introduces particular requirements that not every cloud storage provider satisfies.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that a particular cloud storage option will comply with HIPAA. Storing your data “in the cloud” can make it difficult to achieve the level of security required of healthcare.

Here’s what you need to know about cloud storage to make sure your data is safe and sound — and HIPAA-compliant.

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Jump/Thumb Drives and PHI Don’t Mix

Friday, July 20th, 2012

It is very common for the staff of small and medium sized healthcare organizations to store patient data on USB Flash Drives (a.k.a. Jump Drives or Thumb Drives).  This is universally a bad idea and guarantees non-compliance with HIPAA.  Below, I will discuss why and suggest some alternatives to accomplish the same ends.

While this article discusses USB Flash drives in particular, the same arguments hold for all portable media — full sized USB hard drives, writable CDs and DVDs, laptops, etc.

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