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Everything You Need to Know about SRAT Version 3.0.1

Back in undergrad, one of my roommates decided to bring home a dated mustard yellow couch that he found next to a dumpster conveniently featuring a “free” sign. While he expected it to be a great addition to our apartment, the reality was it ended up causing more problems than it was worth. In this …

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Ramsomware: 3 Ways to Protect Your Organization

News flash: healthcare organizations are being hacked 24/7/365.  Experiencing a ransomware attack, losing control of all data for ransom to a faceless hacker feels similar to having your home burglarized…Violated. In many cases, targeted hacking is financially motivated to hold data hostage and make payroll.  Hackers target Physicians and Executives identified on websites.   With more …

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A Balance of Trust: New Guidelines for Business Associates Under HIPAA

The relationship between a covered entity and business associate requires a delicate balance of trust. This balance of trust works because each is invested in the security and protection of personal health information. As a covered entity, it is important to partner with business associates that have a strong security posture with safeguards and controls …

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Don’t Get Caught! Five Ways to Avoid a Phishing Scam

I love to spend time with my family. Some of our favorite outdoor activities include skiing and mountain biking. Unfortunately, this time of year it is hard to do either activity because the snow is too slushy to ski and the canyon trails are too muddy to mountain bike. However, there’s one activity that my …

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Am I A Business Associate Under HIPAA? Why Should I Care?

Back in 2013, when Edward Snowden was in Hong Kong revealing he leaked documents detailing mass-surveillance programs by the U.S. government, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was creating the Final Omnibus Rule. This rule extended its regulatory reach beyond covered entities (e.g. healthcare providers, health plans, and clearinghouses) to business associates who …

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HIPAA Compliance for Microsoft Office 365

Organizations in every industry are upgrading to Microsoft Office 365 to improve security. A common concern among healthcare professionals is that using Office 365 and Microsoft Teams exposes an organization to HIPAA violations. If Office 365 is implemented without the correct security configurations, that is likely true. However, Office 365 and Teams can easily be …

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HHS SRA Tool Version 3.0 – The Good, Bad and Ugly

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released an updated version of their Security Risk Assessment Tool (SRAT). We have been following the development of this toolkit since its inception in 2011 as the HSR toolkit and reviewed V2.0 in early 2014. Each …

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Cloud Email Phishing Attacks: A Practical Guide

Attention CIOs, CISOs and IT Administrators! A quick review of the HHS Breaches Over 500 list paints a pretty grim picture of the number of breaches affecting 500 or more individuals. Breaches have been steadily increasing and the culprit is clear: Hacking/IT incidents, namely email phishing attacks. Fraudsters and criminals are exploiting vast databases of …

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HIPAA Officers

As HIPAA rules and regulations are continuing to be enforced by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, many healthcare organizations are beginning to lay the framework for a new layer of responsibilities in their corporate structures to create a clear chain of responsibility for HIPAA compliance, starting with the CIO. As it currently stands, …

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State Departments Conducting Audits?!?

In recent years, healthcare audits have been a trending topic within the compliance world. Following the Phase II launch of the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) Audit Protocol in March 2016, many members of the healthcare community equate audits with either the federal government or other large accounting firms such as Figliozzi & Company. …

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