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HIPAA & Information Security: Encryption

 In Compliance, Uncategorized

Information security is very much a moving target and the threats are getting more severe with each passing hour.  This is even true for Fortune 500 businesses with large IT Departments.  Obviously, it can be quite difficult to know if you are truly doing enough. In this industry we must consider our own personal security, as well as, the information and data that our clients have entrusted to us.

Over the next few weeks, we will be publishing information related to things you need to be thinking about to protect the data you possess, and that your clients are relying on you to safeguard.

Lock on a laptop

COMPUTER & DEVICE ENCRYPTION

Most of today’s modern operating systems include the capability to encrypt your computer/device’s hard drive.  This means that if someone were to steal your computer, the contents on the hard drive would be encrypted and the data inaccessible.  The same can be said for your smart phone and/or tablet.  If you lose your iPhone, having it encrypted with a passcode will prevent unwanted access to the contents on the phone itself.

You may be thinking that you’re protected since you have a password on your computer. The problem with this is a password is only like the key to your front door. If I were to bypass your front door and get into your house in another way, all of your contents would be available to me. On your computer, this means that all I have to do is remove your hard drive and connect it to another computer to gain access to everything on it. Device encryption means that even if this happens, everything on your hard drive is scrambled and useless unless someone has the original password.

How do I encrypt my devices?

For Windows computers, you can look into BitLocker which is a feature that may be available on your computer depending on the version of the Operating System.  There are also numerous other third party solutions out there that you can look into using.  You can read more information about various options here.

For Apple computers, you should have the ability to enable FileVault.  Learn more about that here.

For smart phones and/or tablets, it would be impossible to provide you with much specific information as  there are millions of different options out there.  As a general rule of thumb though:

  1. Keep your device’s operating system up to date.
  2. If you have an Android device, encrypt the disk with a password.  Read more about Android encryption here.
  3. If you have an iPhone device, encrypt the disk with a password. Read more about iPhone encryption here.
  4. For all devices, make sure a passcode is required.
  5. If your device is too old to receive the latest operating system updates, you should consider replacing that device immediately.

AgencyRM does not guarantee nor recommend any service provider over any other.  Any solution referenced within this article has been done so for example purposes only. Use at your own discretion and risk.  We are unable to provide any further information on these topics and you are using and/or implementing them on your own.

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