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Five steps to prepare for your compliance audit

August 07, 2014
From the July 2014 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
There are many ways data integrity can be compromised, the most common being human error, hardware failure or a computer virus. There is only so much that can be done to prevent these situations from happening. What health care organizations can do is prepare a comprehensive contingency plan in case a threat or breach is detected.

The most important part of your contingency plan is your backup system. Determining what data and how much data to back up will differ from organization to organization, as it largely depends on your budget and how much critical data you have on hand. Speak with your executive team, IT leaders and outside compliance experts to ensure you have the correct amount of protection.

4. Stop managing manually
Despite more stringent compliance regulations, many health care organizations still manage user accounts and network access privileges by hand. Even for the smallest of practices, this method is less than optimal. It increases the risk of human error occurring when manually entering the data, causes prolonged turnaround times for creating user accounts and increased stress on the IT team.

One way organizations can eliminate these risks is by adopting an automated solution – cutting manual costs and eliminating the risks associated with human error.

5. Strengthen your audit controls
Even with consistently applied access controls in place, health care organizations are still at risk to outsiders or even malicious employees gaining access to confidential information. Like with access management, many health care organizations audit their network’s activity manually. Because this requires a great deal of time, many times a breach is not discovered until days or even weeks after it already happened.

Consider adopting a third-party solution that helps automate the network auditing process. Most solutions will track every logon attempt and file access. In addition, they will record specific information about each logon. For instance, if a failed logon occurs, the software will record the error type, IP address and workstation name. They also typically provide real-time alerting options, allowing IT managers to find out immediately when an intruder is trying to break into the network.

About the author: John McCann, cofounder of Visual Click Software, has more than 36 years experience in the software industry. Since 1986, he has developed an array of network, security and asset management and reporting tools for Novell’s NetWare and Microsoft’s Windows networks.

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