As a company, there needs to be a marked emphasis on the need for effective information security, in order to protect the interests of both the business and its customers. Often, data breaches can occur, putting the company at risk and causing significant damage to the relationship with clients.
While it may be a hard pill to swallow, the breaches in information security are often due to the carelessness or ignorance of company employees themselves. The need for establishing a better sense of information security awareness within employees cannot be emphasized enough, and can go a long way in ensuring that private information is secured and protected as effectively as possible.
Why Focus on Information Security?
- Customer Trust. As a company, your relationship with your customers is key. It’s important to work to offer customer satisfaction, and respecting the need for protecting customer information plays a key role in that. In order to gain the trust of your customers and sustain it, as a company, you must collect, use, and protect private information with a keen sense of judgment and foresight.
- Reputation. Information security awareness among your employees can significantly reduce the risk of data breaches, which can in turn help protect the reputation of your corporation. A good reputation is essential in retaining customers and making sales.
- Compliance with Policies. As an organization, you need to have certain privacy and information security policies in place. In order to remain in compliance with these policies, you must do everything in your power as a company—including educating your employees on the essentials of information security.
What to Focus On?
- Authentication. Employees are privy to a plethora of sensitive information, especially passwords. The login information used to authenticate employees and give them access to company data needs to be handled with care—not written down somewhere carelessly where it can be acquired by anybody. Advanced systems like two-factor authentication can also be used to help enhance information security.
- Keeping the Network Connection Secure. The network connection in use by the organization also plays a key role in presenting threats to the information security system. Wireless internet connections can be quite unsafe, and can be the source of security breaches if not considered wisely. The company should invest in a secure connection, and educate employees on the usage of services such as VPN, where the transmitted data is encrypted.
- Employee Access to Devices. Just as login information and passcodes are to be protected, the devices and accounts that employees have access to must also be carefully managed. It’s good practice to make employees aware of the fact that work devices contain sensitive information and must not be accessible to unauthorized personnel, such as family or friends.
- Basic Security Practices. Including the above, there are certain essential security guidelines that must be adhered to be all employees to help ensure information security within the corporation. Things such as anti-virus software and firewalls should be implemented to ensure that malware is kept at bay, keeping the system secure. Suspicious websites and ambiguous links in spam e-mails should be avoided by employees at all costs. Even the usage of flash drives should be limited or avoided. All of these practices are the most basic steps an employee can take to help secure company information by protecting the system against viruses and other malicious programs.
As a company, it’s essential to put into place policies and guidelines to help secure information and prevent it from being compromised. The aforementioned aspects are just a few factors that should be involved in the information security awareness training of employees.
The best way to ensure that your employees are well-versed in the intricacies of securing critical information is to provide them with comprehensive information security courses as well as ethics and compliance training to help establish holistic knowledge of the non-negotiable code of conduct that is to be adhered to by employees.
With the help of training, information security and fundamental awareness for employees can go a long way in ensuring that an effective and secure information security system is in place and no costly errors are made. With a clear, comprehensive understanding of all the procedures, policies, and guidelines on information security, the interests of the company and its customers can remain protected in the long-run.
Why is Information Security Awareness and Privacy important?
Before HIPAA came into the picture, there was no way to protect patient information or private medical data from the general public. No standards existed for data protection in the healthcare industry but evolving technologies and the transformation of paper based data into electronic form changed all that.
Now, health care facilities rely on electronic information to complete transactions, answer patient queries, provide important information and other clinical as well as administrative functions. Today, this data is proving useful in the creation of applications such as CPOE systems that facilitate healthcare processes such as radiology and lab systems.
These are also providing personnel immediate access to information that would otherwise be tied up in red tape. Unfortunately, it is also open to skilled hackers who may use that sensitive information for nefarious purposes. In other words, as we adopt more technology that makes access to those records easier, we are also increasing potential security risks with it.
As the use of electronic systems and dependence on electronic transactions grew, so did the need for security that could protect them. This included regulatory guidelines that could suit this type of data to ensure it was never compromised.
HIPAA was the one that came up with the first ever global standards for this type of security. Its Security Rule’s aim was to protect individually identifiable information that was based electronically without compromising information access for healthcare providers. This required flexibility in the technology which results in several loopholes hackers can exploit easily.
The best data security technology allows authorized personnel access to medical files they need for their job without opening them to outsiders. If this balance is acquired, chances of data being breached become almost zero, a fact that health care facilities take seriously lest they are penalized.
Confidentiality breaches come with serious repercussions according to HIPAA’s Privacy and Security regulations. This came to pass after the publication of the HITECH Act’s final rules, known jointly as the Omnibus Rule. The new regulations are designed to protect the privacy of patients as well as their information in an invasive digital age.
How to raise data security awareness?
The first thing you need to do when creating a security training plan is to pinpoint who your main shareholders are. By knowing who you need to work with, you will be in a better position to understand the legal implications involved and how they affect everyone. Here are some of them who need to take part in the training:
- Workers on the front desk
- Transcription writers
- Lab technicians
And anyone else who has access to private transaction and healthcare information about patients or clients.
Information Security and Privacy Fundamentals
Data is essential to any organization that wishes to remain competitive and protect client privacy. It is essential to protect patient information along with the systems that are used to transmit, process and store it. Security breaches can result in unethical practices that can compromise a health facility’s integrity and reputation.