June 27, 2019
CybersecurityOffice 365

How to Meet Healthcare Security Standards when Migrating to Office 365

When firefighters are called to rescue people from a blaze, they first learn what they can about the location they will go into, assess the threats, and proactively secure potential liabilities.

When you are responsible for thousands, if not millions, of patients’ medical records, equipment, and the security of exchanges between laboratories and your hospital, you need to know how to meet IT security standards in any scenario.

Prepare your team for an Office 365 migration by understanding the health IT landscape, the threats, and the extra layers of security available for healthcare IT professionals.

Rule #1: Know the Health IT Landscape

The Cybersecurity Act of 2015 established the Health Care Industry Cybersecurity (HCIC) Task Force and noted that, at the time, the industry was at a critically dangerous level in maintaining and utilizing talent for IT and cybersecurity. A high level of openness and data sharing amongst the sectors of the healthcare ecosystem is necessary for a single person to get lab results, start medication, and come in for a checkup. This makes a critical level threat to data security a frightening admission.

“The need to access information quickly to provide patient care needs has to be balanced with the need for cybersecurity protections.”

In June 2017, the HCIC team released this report aimed to overturn the critical threat level in IT security. Healthcare professionals’ concern that putting limits on data sharing for the sake of security will hurt the iterations toward better patient care that open sharing of information allows is warranted, and the threats to patient security and HIPAA violations through cyber attacks are only getting more sophisticated.

Here is where your Office 365 migration comes in.

Office 365 gives health IT professionals a wealth of information on how eHealth solutions will bolster healthcare offerings. Updating your platform to a cloud-based data storage solution will streamline any operation, but health IT professionals should know the risks and available protections when migrating to Office 365.

Rule #2: Know the Health IT Security Threats

The first step is to learn the Top 8 Security Vulnerabilities in Office 365 Migrations.

Some of the most common vulnerabilities in an Office 365 Migration include:

  • Outdated software: Avoid data vulnerability by installing the patches and updates to your existing software before Office 365 migration
  • Cloud vendors and third-party ESPs: We all know that emails can contain viruses, but you should also look out for virus-containing APIs, even those that seem legitimate
  • SAML Single Sign On: Recent threats emerged when hackers bypassed federated domains with vulnerabilities in cross-domain authentication, and your SSO system may be at risk here, too

New cyber threats are launched daily in health IT. Your team must be proactive in implementing security solutions before you are a victim of ransomware that puts patients and consumers at risk.

Rule #3: Use the Data Security Tools for Health IT

Safeguard data with cloud-based data storage, then add a layer of protection to address vulnerabilities. Here’s how your health IT team can proactively secure data:

  1. Regularly assess weakness in data architecture, employee practices, and data sharing processes to find potential internal threats before they arise
  2. Upgrade your data storage to a cloud-based platform, such as Office 365
  3. Back up your data and add a layer of security with a SaaS data protection

Just like firefighters take as much information as possible into account, your health IT security team needs to research and proactively implement of next-generation security measures. Use this brief overview to help your team execute your Office 365 migration smoothly and securely.

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