Malicious code, websites, and data breaches


When we conduct HIPAA training most employees are discouraged when we tell them not to surf the web on work computers. There is a very good reason for this… malicious code can be found on websites that have not been updated and maintained properly. Websites, just like any other technology device you use, must be updated and maintained to avoid being hijacked. Website developers sell templates, this makes it very easy to create a website. When vulnerabilities are discovered in the design of the site or one of the plug-ins, updates are pushed out. It is so important that you have a webmaster that stays on top of this! How would you feel if your website was used to infect your web traffic? Image how embarrassing it would be if your patients got a virus or malware from your website?

That brings us to another very important issue when it comes to healthcare; remote users. Home computers are more likely to be infected, in fact 68% of infections were on consumer computers. Are your employees using their own computers at home to access patient data? Was the RDP set up properly? Are the devices properly maintained by an IT professional? Do employees bring their devices from home into your office? Do your employees use their smartphones to connect to your WiFi? These are all areas that need to be reviewed and addressed to ensure your data is not at risk. This is not about restricting employees computer usage because the employer is being unreasonable. This all about protecting your organization from cyber attacks and protecting patient data.

Well educated employees are your best asset and together with proper security you can protect your organization from a data breach. The average data breach cost is $3.8 million and healthcare being one of highest at $380 per patient record. Keep in mind, if you can’t determine which patient records were breached, they are all considered to be breached and are included in the process. Between the cost of the breach and loss of confidence most organizations do not survive past 1 year after a breach.

Our business partner is nationally known and has mitigated some of the largest data breaches. They work with your IT professional to secure your network BEFORE you suffer a data breach. Let us know if you would like a quote on a network security audit.

To find out more about how our automated HIPAA compliance platform can help your organization click here:

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“Simplifying HIPAA through Automation, Education, and Support”


Cost of cyber attacks on healthcare are steadily rising

Why are so many medical offices being attacked? Simple, this is a one stop shop for everything needed for identity theft and many medical practices do not have appropriate safeguards in place. Business associates have even been the target or the entry point. HIPAA requires certain security safeguards to be in place to ensure the safety and security of Protected Health Information (PHI).

There have been 188 data breaches of 500 or more patient records in the first 6 months of this year, and in April alone there were 42. Thirteen of the 188 have already been resolved.
These breaches include small medical practices, business associates, and hospitals. Small and large. Paper and electronic. No one is immune. Many organizations think they are too small to get hit, but the fact is the most common problem is untrained staff that unknowingly cause this to happen. Education is the key to avoiding this catastrophe from destroying your reputation. Of course you still need to certain technical safeguards in place, but even then it only takes one click of a mouse to bring your network down.

Here are some areas to consider:

  1. How would you process a data breach?
  2. How would you handle the reputation management of the breach?
  3. How would you pay for the cost of breach and the investigations?

Having a breach notification plan in place before a breach occurs is critical to reducing the damage. You must have processing in place to shut the system down, continue manually, and report to the appropriate authorities.

Consider the lack of trust from your patients since their information was compromised from your office. No matter if it was your fault or that of a business associate this could have a negative impact on your patient database.

Breaches are costly on many fronts, the first being the cost of the notification of the patients, investigations, downtime, and the mitigation of the source of the breach. In 2013 the Ponemon Institute reported that a data breach cost $233 per medical record, now in the 2018 the report states a healthcare breach can cost on average $408 per medical record.

Keep in mind if you do not know which records were breached then everyone must be included in the notification process. What could turn out to be the most costly is the fines and penalties associated with the breach. Depending on how and when you processed the breach is one determining factor. Also once the investigation is complete, if it is discovered this was an ongoing problem and was not mitigated, then you could be found in willful and wanton neglect. This is NOT a place you want to find yourself! The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) can also fine you for not conducting a thorough enough risk analysis thus leaving vulnerabilities untouched. How well do you trust your efforts in securing your data? Have you conducted a risk assessment to determine if what you have in place is sufficient?

How can Aris help?

  • First of all we conduct a thorough risk analysis that uncovers vulnerabilities and create a risk management plan so that you can mitigate those risks.
  • Since written documentation is also part of HIPAA compliance, we provide the necessary privacy and security policies, procedures, and documentation needed for state and federal regulatory requirements.
  • We also offer HIPAA training that includes privacy and security and any custom requests.
  • If you are one of the many organizations that simply do not have the time to implement your HIPAA program, we can do that for you as well. Month to month, no long term contracts!

If you would like a free HIPAA checkup call 877.659.2467 or complete the contact us form.

“Simplifying HIPAA  through Partnership, Education, and Support”

Updating your Contingency Plan


By Aris Medical Solutions

HIPAA Disaster

Contingency Planning is more than just a power outage or how to backup and restore your data. A complete plan should include different types of scenarios that could happen in your area.

For those involved in Healthcare, creating a contingency plan is not optional.  Should you have a disaster and are not prepared you can be fined! The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) considers protecting personal information a civil right and they will enforce this if you have a data breach or a situation where your data is not recoverable.

Think about ransomware, have you included this in your contingency plan?

Depending where you are located, have you included how to respond to a hurricane, tornado, snowstorm, or fire?

Where is your data located and what would happen if you had a toilet overflow or a pipe burst?

In light of the recent tragedies have you included a section on workplace violence?

How to create a Contingency plan:

  1. Conduct a thorough HIPAA Risk Assessment. Understand and analyze what type of risks you are vulnerable to. This includes where you are located and what type of computer network that you utilize.
  2. Create a diagram of how your network is configured. This will help you to determine the best method to protect and restore your data from a backup.
  3. Implement a risk management plan that outlines what you have in place and what you will need in the future if it is not possible at the moment. Of course, you will need a timeline if you will be adding to your plan.

For more information on how Aris Medical Solutions can help your organization with HIPAA Compliance and Protecting your Data call 877.659.2467 or click here to contact us.

Healthcare is a huge target!


By Aris Medical Solutions


Things may seem wonderful since a new year is beginning; please don’t forget that many things remain the same.

For instance…
Healthcare is targeted in many ways. Do your employees know how to spot a phishing email or a potential virus? Most phishing expeditions and viruses are delivered right to your inbox! Did you know that nearly 90% of all ransomware attacks were on healthcare? A new report by Check Point software’s researchers states that Ransomware plague earns $2 million, while only 0.3% victims pay up. With this much money that is being made, more and more criminals are creating Ransomware. What would you do if one of your employees clicked on a link and downloaded a virus or your system was encrypted by ransomware?

Today, we are extremely busy and the criminals know this. It is so easy to spoof another company’s logo and create a phishing email or worse; a ransomware infection. What can you do? First and foremost you must continually educate your staff on what to look for and how to avoid making costly mistakes.

Here are some things to watch out for:

  1. Emails that claim your account has been compromised and you need to call a toll free number immediately. Lookup the number for the company and call them on that number and not the number supplied in the email. If you call the number that is supplied, either you will to talk to a real criminal and they try to get information from you or your credit card number. The other way is you get stuck in a voicemail holding pattern and then your number is programmed in and they call you back and try the same scam.
  2. Emails that claim your package (FEDEx / UPS / USPS) or payment (IRS / Bank / Credit Card) was not delivered, and you need to click on an attachment or a link.Open your browser and go directly to the company’s website, do not click on anything in the email.
  3. Phone call that advises you there is new software upgrade or virus and offers a free scan on your computer. Do not permit anyone access to your computer unless they have been verified by the company they work for and you know who they are.
  4. Fake apps that look like the real stores. Watch for apps that do not have a lot of reviews or bad reviews. Do not click on a link to download an app, go to the app store. Even then be careful, although Apple and Google use algorithms to detect, some have slipped through! Do not give out too much information and try to avoid adding any credit card numbers to apps. Read the permissions on all apps before downloading. If it is asking for more than is needed, do not download even though it sounds like a great app. Many apps contain malware to steal your information. If you connect your portable device to your office network, it can steal information from there as well.

Remember, most scams have a sense of urgency to prevent a negative consequence. Also, as the old saying goes… if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Always think before you react!
For more information on how Aris Medical Solutions can help your organization with HIPAA Compliance and Protecting your Data call 877.659.2467 or click here to contact us.

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