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VP, Healthcare
  • Healthcare

Data Loss Prevention in Healthcare


As an industry with strict privacy and security regulations, healthcare is challenged to implement increased cybersecurity measures to mitigate current threats. Failure to protect confidential information can result in fines amounting to millions of dollars. So whether you’re an IT security professional or the CIO of a hospital, medical university, health clinic, insurance company or a third-party organization involved in the industry, a robust Data Loss Prevention strategy should be a critical part of your security program.


What is Data Loss Prevention (DLP)?

Data loss prevention is a specifically-configured solution designed to keep sensitive data—such as Electronic Medical Records (EMR), Protected Health Information (PHI), Payment Card Industry (PCI) data or other Personally Identifiable Information (PII)— from being accessed, and potentially misused, by unauthorized users. When unsanctioned access is identified, DLP employs pre-defined alerts, encryption and/or other protective actions to stop end users from sharing data that could put an organization at risk.


DLP tools monitor endpoints, network data streams and the cloud to protect data in use, in motion and at rest, from both insider and outsider threats. It also provides required compliance and auditing reporting.


Data Loss Protection is not new. But high-profile data breaches have made organizations more aware of the risks and more motivated to effectively guard sensitive information, to protect their patients as well as their brand and reputation. 


What are the benefits of DLP?

Data security is, of course, the most obvious benefit of a best-of-breed Data Loss Prevention system. But there are many other things you should know:


1. DLP can deliver effective HIPAA compliance with low overhead, and a low rate of false positives.

2. DLP can provide analytics and reporting capabilities to give you the documentation you need to demonstrate your HIPAA compliance.

3. DLP offers flexible and automated controls, which enable you to protect your data without slowing patient care. DLP responds automatically to block risky behavior, so users can do their jobs while keeping data secure.

4. DLP can give you deep visibility across your enterprise and the cloud, protecting your data wherever it is.

What about the cost?

The benefits of a DLP system far outweigh the costs. Regulatory benefits include meeting regulatory, contractual and policy compliance, as well as securing outsourcing and partner communications. Business benefits include protecting your brand, your reputation and your intellectual property. And cost benefits include reducing risk and avoiding significant financial loss from data loss or misuse—or from noncompliance to policy, regulations or standards. HIPAA data breach penalties are steep, ranging from $100 to $50,000 per violation or per record, with a maximum penalty of $1.5 million per year for each violation.


When you consider that the healthcare industry is under constant attacks, it’s clear that a smart DLP system is worth your consideration—and your investment.


The benefit of our experience.

Setting up your DLP system is a big job. There’s a great deal to consider. So here are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind when it comes to your DLP system: 


  • Email and removable devices are primary concerns. Email encryption is a must, plain and simple. Removable devices, such as USB drives, need to be controlled and monitored. Any backups made on removable media should be read-only.
  • Consider the impact of cloud solutions and services, including Dropbox-style services. Data protection solutions are available for cloud-based platforms from some vendors.
  • Don’t let the technology dictate your goals. You decide what you need the technology to do. You set the policy; the system only enforces it.
  • This may seem obvious, but your DLP solution should integrate with your service management platform.


So now you know the most basic basics of Data Loss Prevention. While we’ve barely scratched the surface here, the experts at ePlus are here for you to help you better protect your data and reduce your risk.


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