HIPAA Data Encryption Is An Effective Way to Protect Sensitive PHI Data

With so much noise, all around us about HIPAA and so much of complexities that arise from the methods of compliance that there are chances that we might often forget the basics.  To make things easy and straightforward, just refresh your knowledge to understand things in the right perspective. You must have heard a lot about HIPAA encryption and wondered whether it is mandatory to follow it. Technically speaking, it is not compulsory to pursue HIPAA encryption. You may implement an alternative to HIPPA encryption, but whatever you do, document it properly. Documentation is necessary to face the audits of Office for Civil Rights.

What is HIPAA encryption?

Salesforce compliance features ensure that you meet the HIPAA requirements. However, you will have to use some other software for HIPAA encryption that converts regular, readable text into text that is encoded. The process of encoding is completed by using an algorithm. For decrypting or translating the encrypted text to its original version that is easy to comprehend, you must have the encryption key with you. AES 256 bit encryption is the industry-leading standard recommended for use. Encryption is the most prevalent method of securing and protecting PHI data.

Minimizing the risk of unauthorized access

Data encryption is perhaps the most effective means of protecting data from unauthorized access especially if the devices are lost or stolen. By adopting HIPAA file level encryption, which is also best from the compliance perspective, you are minimizing the risk of data falling into the wrong hands and save yourself from the penalty that can happen due to non-compliance of HIPAA procedures for the safe practice of data protection. Keep reading to know about the different types of HIPAA protection.

Full disk encryption

When you opt for full disk encryption, it means you want to encrypt all data on the hard drive of the computer including the operating system.  You can restrict access by using user authentication. All encrypted information remains completely protected provided you do it on an unbooted computer. Full disk encryption offers protection until the time you boot the computer after which the safety and security grid of the system keeps the data protected. However, the full disk encryption does not protect files that you might copy or move to another storage location as it automatically gets decrypted.

Virtual Disk Encryption

This approach is applicable for end user device storage.  In this method, you encrypt containers that hold many folders and files. Once the users undergo user authentication to prove that they are bona fide users, they get access to the containers that open up as a virtual disk.

 File encryption

In this method, you can encrypt specific folders or files with a unique key. It debars unauthorized users from accessing information. The encryption remains in force no matter where you store the data.

According to the Health and Human Services Security Rules, you must take recourse to encryption if you feel that it enhances the security of PHI data and more often than not, you have to do it.

Author Bio:

Lucy Jones is a software marketer who had spent some time with Flosum.com. She is very fond of going on long drives with her family and also loves to spend time with a pair of Labradors that he has adopted from a rescue home.

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