The five best HIPAA-compliant cloud storage solutions for your practice

Have you heard the horror stories? A celebrity’s personal pictures are stolen from the cloud and distributed online. A Fortune 500 company’s cloud storage is hacked and data from thousands of customers sold.

While some industries may just get a slap on the wrist for this type of breach, in healthcare the stakes are much higher. HIPAA violations cost a lot of money, and the damage a hacker can do with patient information is incalculable.

If your organization is HIPAA compliant, you don’t just need to keep your cloud data safe. It has to be HIPAA safe. What does that mean?

The laws that affect HIPAA-compliant cloud storage

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) clarified how healthcare providers need to secure electronic protected health information (PHI). This law also ensures that regulations stay current with quickly advancing technologies like cloud storage.

HITECH states that healthcare providers aren’t the only ones who need to stay compliant. In fact, any storage services and apps you use have to meet HIPAA security guidelines as well.

According to the law, your cloud storage service has to provide you with a business associate agreement (BAA) stating that they’re HIPAA compliant.

Not every cloud storage service is up to the challenge. As a rule, a HITECH-compliant cloud storage service has to provide you with

    • A permission-based system that limits access by unauthorized users
    • Access monitoring
    • Audit trails
    • Strong data encryption during data upload, download, and storage
    • Administrative controls
    • Third-party integrations for HIPAA-compliant apps

While the HIPAA-compliant cloud storage service is responsible for providing these tools, it’s still up to you as a healthcare provider to set up these tools and use them properly. To make your decision easier, let’s look at five of the best HIPAA-compliant cloud storage services.

Like other cloud storage services, Box integrates with Salesforce, JotForm, Google, and other useful applications for a seamless user experience across platforms without jeopardizing PHI security. As an added benefit, you can easily and securely view DICOM files (such as x-rays, ultrasounds, and CTs).

Keeping your cloud storage HIPAA compliant

By choosing a reputable cloud storage provider, checking the permissions of your third-party apps, and making good use of audit trails, you can ensure that your cloud storage doesn’t conflict with HIPAA compliance standards.

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