Backup and Recovery
Compliance
HIPAA

Proactive SaaS Data Protection: Taking Care of Your ePHI Health and Hygiene

Eoghan Casey
|
Vice President of Cybersecurity Strategy & Product Development, Own Company
Eoghan Casey
|
Vice President of Cybersecurity Strategy & Product Development, Own Company
Christie Clements
|
Product Content Marketer Specialist, Own Company

Between annual screenings, checkups, prescriptions, and more, your healthcare provider is committed to proactively protecting your health and wellness. Turns out, if you’re a healthcare leader operating in the cloud, you should apply the same proactive approach to your most important asset: your patients' individually identifiable health information. As covered in Healthcare Business Today, following a cycle of continuous improvement is essential to address the rising risks and regulatory requirements targeting electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI). 

In this blog post, we unpack some proactive ways to maintain the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of ePHI in SaaS environments, as well as how Own streamlines the process. 

SaaS Data Health and Safety

1) Identify: Perform Regular ePHI Checkups

The first step to better data health and safety is knowing your risk factors. To accomplish this, and start on a firm footing, it is advisable to conduct routine assessments of your risk profile. While internal audits can be highly valuable, third-party experts are the most effective at revealing gaps in your security posture. Own’s Security & Governance team works with customers to identify and prioritize risks in their SaaS environments. SaaS security assessments are also essential for defining and documenting your needs to enhance the maturity of SaaS security and resilience for regulatory compliance. 

Own Secure for Salesforce supports these governance, risk, and compliance processes with a powerful combination of data classification capabilities to identify sensitive information, multiple risk insights that illuminate insecurities, and alerts of high-risk permission assignments and overly broad access to ePHI. 

Security Insights Dashboard with risk meters and Time Machine.

Like regular checkups with your doctor, routine risk analysis of your SaaS data helps identify gaps in your security posture before they inadvertently expose ePHI or are exploited by a successful attack. Own Secure helps perform regular checkups of Salesforce data security, and the Time Machine feature gives a historical retrospective of risk levels over time to track improvements as an organization takes steps to mitigate these risks. These metrics are useful for demonstrating the efficacy of specific security measures, showing improvements in identifying risks, protecting data, monitoring, and preventing data exposure or loss. Using these metrics to show improvements over time helps justify continued funding and resources related to Salesforce security.

2) Protect: Maintain ePHI Health and Hygiene

Whether by  washing hands, sanitizing an injection site, or wearing personal protective equipment, healthcare providers take important, calculated steps to prevent infection. Healthcare organizations must do the same when maintaining ePHI health and hygiene. Making this a top priority doesn’t have to be a complicated process, with the right solution. 

Own Secure supports SaaS data protection and management by helping customers set permissions to restrict access to sensitive data. Own Secure also has encryption acceleration features that help customers encrypt data without breaking existing dependencies.

Own Archive can be used to offload inactive ePHI safely and securely, reducing the amount of sensitive data that is potentially exposed to unauthorized access. With Archive, you can trust that Salesforce HIPAA compliance is always baked into your data protection efforts. Archive enables you to define, automate, and manage your custom data retention policies, including what data should be archived, how frequently archiving should occur, and how long it is retained. If internal or external requirements change, the data retention policy can be quickly and easily updated, automatically adjusting the retention period on all applicable records.

When performing training, development, and other essential work supporting healthcare, it is necessary to use realistic data while maintaining privacy and security. To avoid exposing ePHI in such situations, particularly in development environments, it’s critical to anonymize the data. Own Accelerate supports anonymizing  sensitive data and loading it into secure environments for development, training, and other uses.

3) Detect: Diagnose ePHI Problems and Misuse

Even with proper diet, exercise, and sleep, there’s always a risk of a body ailment that can go unnoticed. Healthcare organizations are not immune to this either and can greatly benefit from early detection opportunities. Own Recover provides Smart Alerts to detect unexpected deletion or corruption of data on various  SaaS platforms. In addition, Own has a comparative analysis capability between backups that provides visibility over when data  was deleted or corrupted and potentially by which user account.

Own Secure for Salesforce generates alerts when specific high-risk actions occur and highlights objects that should be monitored (OTSBM) based on fields that are actually being used and are widely accessible by the user community. This view of ePHI helps concentrate security monitoring on the information that is at the highest risk. 

4) Respond: Be Prepared to Address Problems Promptly

When a health ailment strikes, the human body takes immediate action to ensure a speedy recovery. For healthcare organizations, managing a cyber incident isn’t much different; it requires swift, concerted response for business continuity. Getting ahead of cyber incidents involving SaaS data not only helps in the cyber incident itself, but also in the prevention of future incidents. It creates opportunities to perform forensic analysis and rapid recovery and improves data security posture and incident response capabilities–boosting both your cybersecurity immunity and confidence. 

To help organizations prepare for and deal with SaaS data loss and corruption incidents, Own provides Data Recovery Readiness and Response for SaaS (DR3™) support. Aligning with the NIST Cyber Security Framework and following the NIST Guide for Cybersecurity Event Recovery, DR3™ is rooted in trusted, established practices and experience, giving you peace of mind when you need it most.  And, with DR3™ Technical Account Manager (TAM) support, Own customers have access to regular data recovery readiness assessments and curated solutions to continuously improve their healthcare cybersecurity resilience. 

5) Recover: Cultivate Cyber Resilience

Thanks to medical advancements, patients receive targeted, prescriptive treatments, creating less disruption to the human body (and their healthcare journey as a whole). To develop strong cyber resilience, healthcare organizations must take inspiration from modern medicine: have a targeted, efficient treatment plan. This is best executed by maintaining routine third-party backups. This action supports business continuity while the primary source is unavailable, and enables rapid restoration of data in the event of loss or corruption. Own Recover addresses this need by providing proactive preservation for Salesforce, ServiceNow, and Microsoft Dynamics 365. When an incident occurs, Own customers can rapidly recover their SaaS data from backups, either fully or surgically down to a specific record or field, including child objects, relationships, and attachments.

Important SaaS Data Protection Solution Considerations 

When considering solutions, look for a provider that has: 

  • Proactive data security solutions, including data classification capabilities, encryption facilitation, security insights, risk assessments, alerting, reports for auditors, and more;
  • Robust data backup capabilities, such as the ability to conduct frequent backups, keep backup data separate from production data, backup multiple file types, and store large amounts of data; 
  • Strong recovery abilities, including tools to proactively monitor against potential loss/corruption, provide real-time alerts, and pinpoint the timing and extent of loss or corruption;
  • Anonymization of sensitive information before providing access for development, training, and other purposes; and data retention support required for legal purposes and protecting privacy and security
  • Capabilities for easily streamlining compliance with HIPAA and GDPR. 

Boost Your SaaS Data Immunity with Own 

With Own, you can continue business as usual, knowing that your SaaS data is getting a clean bill of health. Our backup and recovery solutions are built to fortify data security and recover from data loss and corruption caused by cyber threats. Own Secure for Salesforce enables you to bypass the compliance challenges of strict healthcare privacy regulations. And, with Own Accelerate, you can innovate in sandboxes without putting sensitive health information at risk during testing and training. 

Are you ready for your data protection checkup? The doctor will see you now…

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Eoghan Casey
Vice President of Cybersecurity Strategy & Product Development, Own Company

Eoghan Casey is Vice President of Cybersecurity Strategy & Product Development at Own, creating innovative solutions for SaaS data protection and security analytics. He has 25+ years of technical leadership experience in private and public sector organizations, and is an internationally recognized expert in cyber risk mitigation and digital forensic investigation. He is on the Board of DFRWS.org and has a PhD in Computer Science from University College Dublin.

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