Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been an increase in the volume of sensitive patient data being stored and processed by healthcare organizations. A patient’s health history, including all the treatments, procedures, prescriptions, lab tests, and scan reports, are stored in the form of electronic health records (EHRs). Even though EHRs reduce the number of errors in patient reports, and help physicians track the healthcare data of patients, tampering with them can produce disastrous consequences. So, the onus falls on the IT administrator to secure the patient’s data and privacy. 

To ensure the integrity of protected health information (PHI), incorporating these three strategies will ensure compliance with medical information privacy and security regulations, including HIPAA and HITRUST. 

 1) Monitoring access to file servers containing PHIs

EHRs contain PHI that makes them a lucrative target for cybercriminals. Servers containing EHRs need to be monitored closely to spot unauthorized file access, modifications, and movements to preserve data integrity. Healthcare organizations must ensure that sensitive information like this is only accessed by authorized medical personnel and the patients themselves. 

 2) Administering granular password policies and implementing MFA   

As most healthcare organizations rely heavily on passwords to secure access to their ePHI, hackers only need one compromised credential to enter an organization’s network. The challenge is to ensure that doctors and other medical staff use strong passwords to secure their accounts. Enforce multi-factor authentication (MFA) for different users, such as nurses, residents, physicians, front desk, and others, based on domain, OU, and group memberships, while ensuring a seamless login experience. 

3) Mitigating privilege misuse and insider threats

Privileged users with control over your Active Directory (AD) environment, GPOs, and servers pose privilege misuse and insider threat risks. For effective security, a ZeroTrust environment needs to be established so that insider threats are kept at bay. Assign only the required level of access to a patient’s health information to doctors, nurses, health insurance executives, and others who are directly responsible for that patient. 

To implement these three strategies, you need a comprehensive identity and access management (IAM) solution, like ManageEngine AD360. AD360 is an integrated IAM suite that can manage and protect your Windows AD, Exchange Server, and Microsoft 365 environments and take care of your compliance requirements. 

With AD360, you can: 

  • Track in real-time who changed which file or folder, when, and from where, across Windows, NetApp, EMC, Synology, Huawei, and Hitachi file systems that contain PHI.

  • Detect USB devices plugged into systems, and receive alerts when files are copied to them, and thwart PHI exfiltration.

  • Enforce fine-grained password policies and MFA for privileged users who have access to PHI.

  • Combat insider threats by leveraging user behavior analytics, which notifies about deviations from a user’s normal behavior. Instantly respond to these deviations by configuring automatic actions to be performed, such as running scripts or executing batch files.

  • Identify and receive alerts on tell-tale signs of privilege abuse, such as unusually large volumes of file modifications and attempts to access critical files.

  • Prove HIPAA compliance with over 200 preconfigured reports to view changes made in the system, track user actions, access data logs, and modify data.

To help healthcare organizations deliver elevated patient care, navigate the ever-evolving IT environment, and make identity and access management weigh less on IT budgets, our IAM solution, AD360, is being offered at a discounted price for a limited time.