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HIPAA Compliance in the Cloud with Microsoft Office 365 and Teams

Enabling Compliance with Microsoft Office 365

This whitepaper provides healthcare executives, management and administrative teams the necessary information to satisfy HIPAA compliance and cybersecurity diligence using Microsoft Office 365 (”Office 365”) and Microsoft Teams (”Teams”). By implementing the controls found in this whitepaper, healthcare organizations may significantly reduce the likelihood of breaches while working towards meeting US and Global regulatory standards such as HIPAA, GDPR, new and evolving consumer privacy laws and HITRUST Certification requirements.

In this digital age, anyone with an internet connection is a target for fraud. Due to the nature of sensitive protected health information and personally identifiable information, healthcare providers have increasingly complex fraud challenges and cybersecurity workforce issues. Without taking action to implement data security, given enough time, the chances of being breached becomes 100%.

A recent annual survey from A.T. Kearney of 400 C-level executives and board members from around the world revealed that more than 85% reported experiencing a breach in the past three years and they ranked business disruption from cybersecurity risks as their no.1 business challenge. Despite that staggering statistic, only 39% said their company has fully developed and implemented a cyber defense strategy, putting the 61% of respondents at increased risk for future attacks.

Implementing HIPAA Compliance Controls

Implementing a HIPAA compliance and cyber defense strategy is mandatory for all healthcare organizations and their business associates. While building a foundation of compliance, the HIPAA Security Risk Analysis requirement per 164.308(a)(1)(ii)(A) along with NIST-based methodologies3 are critical tools for audit scenarios and data security. As described in Part 2, Microsoft built all its cloud applications and networks following its own Trusted Cloud principles for security, privacy and compliance. By doing so, Microsoft recently achieved compliance with the HIPAA Security Rule, HITRUST Certification in Azure and Office 365 along with dozens of other global, regional, industry and US Government certifications.

Thanks to heavy investments Microsoft has made in security, compliance and auditing; anyone who utilizes data should also read the following whitepaper. Specifically, Office 365 and Teams users can leverage built-in security and compliance features documented in Part 3 to combat the constantly evolving cyber-security attacks everyone faces in healthcare and beyond. The following whitepaper consists of three sections and appendices containing relevant guidance and/or illustrations intended to demonstrate how to leverage Office 365 and Teams to achieve compliance for each aspect of the HIPAA Security Rule.


This whitepaper was prepared for Microsoft, created by HIPAA One, with the support of Microsoft’s Product teams. HIPAA One is the leading HIPAA Compliance Software and Services firm in the United States. Since its inception in 2012, HIPAA One has collected HIPAA compliance data for over 6,000 locations and audited thousands of healthcare organizations. HIPAA One employs a team of in-house certified Auditors/Security Practitioners and recently integrated their software with some of the nation’s largest electronic medical record companies such as athenahealth and Allscripts. HIPAA One aims to simplify HIPAA compliance through use of their automated, cloud-based software.