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How do you Rate your IT Security?

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The Monthly “Steal” by David Steele

The Monthly “Steal” is a bit of relevant technology information intertwined with personal thoughts, opinions and some real life experiences. It is written by David “Steele” and is free, hence a “steal” from a “Steele”.

206 Hospitals in 29 States were hacked effecting 4.5 million patient records in 2015. According to an article recently published in the Washington Post in February, a Los Angeles hospital paid $17,000 in bitcoin ransom to unload computer records.

 

“The quickest and most efficient way to restore our systems and administrative functions was to pay the ransom and obtain the decryption key,” Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center CEO Allen Stefanek said. “In the best interest of restoring normal operations, we did this.”

Digital FingerprintBut hospitals are not the only target. JPMorgan Chase, Home Depot and Target were all victims of cyber-attacks in 2014.   It is no secret that personal information is valuable; the FBI released an article that indicated that in 2013, over 2 million health care records were compromised which was 31% of all reported data breaches. Cyber criminals are selling the information on the black market at a rate of $50 for each partial electronic health record (EHR), compared to $1 for a stolen social security number or credit card number.

What’s amazing is that most companies still don’t take cyber security serious or value the importance of properly securing customer data. Companies install door access systems, alarm systems, locked server racks and camera systems all focused on physical security, but when asked how they are securing their customer data, there is often a lack of detail. Most IT companies and computer professionals practice “General Network Management” or “Best Practices”. There are general guidelines that, when followed correctly, produce safe and secure computer networks. Where most companies struggle is how to confirm that best practices are being followed, usage policies are enforced and employees, IT staff and vendors are trained and held accountable.  

In 1996, the Federal Government created the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act – HIPAA. The primary goal of the law is to make it easier for people to keep health insurance, protect the confidentiality and security of healthcare information and help the healthcare industry control administrative costs. The Rule requires appropriate safeguards to protect the privacy of personal health information, and sets limits and conditions on the uses and disclosures that may be made of such information without patient authorization. HIPAA focuses mainly on medical and patient rights but the same requirements located under the HIPAA Security Rule provide a solid foundation and accountability to ensure “General Network Management” or “Best Practices” are valid and are providing a solid network environment. Before, IT companies would send a network technician and tell them to secure the network. Now, they send in a network technician and say this network needs to be HIPAA or Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant providing both the IT company and the customer with accountability.

Many companies may say, “but I don’t deal with medical so why do I need to be so secured. When IT companies are hired, they are trusted with financial information, personal information and company information. By applying a HIPAA or PCI compliance requirement to your network will force vendors and staff to be more aware and involved in both the physical and function security of information. In most cases, the cost to properly secure and manage a network is a fraction of the cost associated with a data breach or privacy violation.

Hospital-Map_20160422-145801_1.jpg

Resources:

FBI Cyber Division - April 8, 2014

The Washington Post - February 18, 2015

Cyber Attacks on U.S. Companies in 2014 - By Riley Walters - October 27, 2014

David Steele, Partner / Webmaster

djsteele@intradatech.com
570-321-7370
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Expertise - David is one of today’s new breed of technology pioneers creating, building and managing technology for today’s business environment. In 2000, David co-founded Intrada Technologies, Inc. In 2001, Intrada partnered with Micro-One Computer Center to create Micro-Link, a regional ISP serving more than 2000 dial-up customers. He also developed a public wireless network for commercial industry in Williamsport / Montoursville / Montgomery, PA that includes corporate email, broadband, VPN, firewall, network management, consulting, installation and training. In 2004, he sold the Dialup and Wireless portions of the business, with Intrada assuming the Micro-Link hosting and commercial ISP services. Today, David’s primary business focus is web development and network management.


Client Depth - David’s clients include health care, telecommunications, retail outlets and cataloging, and web-based robotic management systems. He has implemented full E-commerce and inventory billing systems, visual packing and shipping systems and other E-commerce solutions for large distributors with EDI interfaces and multiple vendors.


Accomplishments - David gained his expertise from a unique combination of formal education, natural ability, and on-the-job learning. He acquired his business acumen studying business management and computer programming at Pennsylvania College of Technology. In addition, David studied privately with renowned lighting and theater designer Stan Prestner at UCLA, where he learned the intricacies of light engineering and design and electrical sound reinforcement for live performance.


In addition, David continues to pursue advanced training in new media and technology developments.  djsteele@intradatech.com  570-321-7370 x102

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