Keeping SaaS Apps HIPAA Compliant - Adaptive Shield

Keeping SaaS Apps HIPAA Compliant

Adaptive Shield Team

Healthcare has been cautious in moving toward cloud technologies and SaaS applications. Concerns over privacy and the need to comply with HIPAA regulations had left them stuck using on-premises software solutions. However, COVID forced healthcare organizations to develop telehealth models. Patients increasingly wanted digital access to their records, and healthcare organizations recognized the need to meet interoperability mandates.

As patient and industry needs continue to evolve, more healthcare organizations have adopted SaaS apps, evidenced by a predicted SaaS global healthcare market growth of 19.5% between 2021 and 2028. As the industry embraces this shift to the cloud, healthcare security professionals need to understand how SaaS security impacts their Health Insurance Portability and Accessibility Act (HIPAA) compliance posture.

What Are the Two Primary Areas of Security Concern for Health Organizations Using SaaS?

Across the industry, healthcare organizations leverage SaaS applications to streamline patient care and administrative tasks. Meanwhile, the industry faces unique security and compliance concerns.

Targeted Attacks

Cybercriminals target the healthcare industry because they can use protected health information (PHI) in various ways. Some examples of how they use this valuable data include:

Limited Resources

Between tight budgets and the cybersecurity skills gap, the healthcare industry often lacks the resources needed to implement security. IT budgets often focus on technologies that enable patient care and administrative functions. Simultaneously, the limited number of skilled security professionals often means that healthcare organizations struggle to find and retain the talent they need.

What Are the Baseline Security Practices for the SaaS Environment?

In January 2022, Congress signed a HITECH Amendment into law that requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to create standards, guidelines, best practices, methodologies, procedures, and processes for protecting ePHI. In response, the HHS Office for Civil RIght (OCR) recommended the Health Industry Cybersecurity Practices: Managing Threats and Protecting Patients (HICP) publication and the National Institute of Standards and Technology Standards (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework (CSF).

HICP outlined the following ten most effective Cybersecurity Practices:

Using SSPM for HIPAA Compliance

As healthcare organizations adopt more SaaS applications, their security teams find that manually managing HIPAA compliance becomes overwhelming. For example, many organizations struggle with:

As the healthcare industry adopts more SaaS applications, security professionals need to manage the three primary HIPAA compliance pain points associated with them:

SSPM solutions enable covered entities and business associates to monitor their SaaS environments and enforce security policies.

SSPM solutions solve the IT, security, and privacy SaaS misconfiguration challenges by offering:

Final Thoughts

Implementing the right SSPM solution enables covered entities and business associates to enforce security configurations across their SaaS ecosystem. As organizations research SSPM solutions, they need to consider the technology’s capabilities and functionalities. With the right SSPM, organizations gain continuous, automated surveillance of all SaaS apps and the documentation supporting their HIPAA compliance posture.

About the writer

Adaptive Shield Team

Businesses today run nearly every facet of their operations using a wide array of interconnected SaaS apps. Adaptive Shield’s team is here to keep you informed as well as help you secure your SaaS estate.

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