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Rolling in the Deep: Navigating Compliance and Information Exchange

If you’re managing enterprise information, even if you’re just sending everyday business files in and out of your organization, it’s likely you also have to maintain complex compliance standards. A poll by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC found that 48% of compliance officers believed they would experience a compliance risk event in the next eighteen months.

Surprisingly, 42% of those surveyed also reported that they rarely leverage resources from IT departments to help them meet compliance requirements, even though most standards revolve around the ability to safely store and transfer information.

What is the disconnect between compliance officers and IT, and why is there such a large risk of compliance breaches? The answer is that compliance policies can be as vast and murky as the depths of the ocean, and it’s easy to find yourself sinking fast if you don’t know the ins and outs of what you’re on the hook for.

Maintaining compliance can also be costly, time consuming, and very difficult to understand. So to help make your job a little easier, we will be running a compliance blog series, focusing on some of the key industries that compliance regulations hit the hardest, and helping you understand how the right secure messaging solution can make your job a little simpler.

A Healthy Knowledge of HIPAA

What is HIPAA? The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act exists to protect the privacy and security of people’s individually identifiable health information so that it remains strictly between the individual and the organization they entrusted with it. The Privacy and Security Rules dictate that individuals have rights regarding their personal health information (PHI) in conjunction with the ability to disclose it for patient care, and include a series of administrative, physical, and technical safeguards to assure confidentiality, integrity, and availability of electronic PHI.

What it means for file transfer: HIPAA addresses the minimum standard that health care organizations must implement to protect the security, privacy and confidentiality of patient data that is transferred over the Internet. Therefore when you need to send this information, your organization has to abide by the technical safeguards that outline the five categories for security including access control, audit control, integrity, person or entity authentication, and transmission security in order to be compliant.

What you’re on the hook for: Whenever you are transferring information that includes PHI, you must employ HIPAA’s standards to make sure that the information is secure at all points from covered entities custody, transmission, and even to third parties. You also have to determine if there are any risks and vulnerabilities to any PHI in electronic form and develop and maintain security measures to keep it protected.

Tips to Help? Documentation is critical. Keeping detailed current documentation that dictates your organizations’ plans, processes, and measures taken to protect PHI is the heart of HIPAA compliance. Since processes are changing often, your documentation needs to be regularly revisited and updated to make sure you have the right safeguards in place.

The Right Tools: Having the right solution to managing your information exchange that can provide full transparency, auditability, and industry standard encryption for all your file movement can help make navigating compliancy standards far easier.

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OpenText is the leader in Enterprise Information Management (EIM). Our EIM products enable businesses to grow faster, lower operational costs, and reduce information governance and security risks by improving business insight, impact and process speed.

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