HIPAA TIP: Risks, Threats and Vulnerabilities

Risks are defined as situations involving exposure to danger. Risk involves uncertainty about the effects/implications of an activity focusing on negative, undesirable consequences.

A Threat is an intention to inflict harm, damage, or other hostile action, which could be from one person or a hacking or ransomware organization, with the intent to manipulate a system or environment.

Vulnerabilities are the state of exposure to the possibility of being attacked or harmed. Vulnerability comes from the Latin word for “wound” – being open to injury.

A healthcare organization’s risks equal the likelihood/probability of a data breach times the impact of a data breach, and not only in the computer/network environment. The HIPAA Security Rule requires Administrative, Physical and Technical Safeguards be addressed in order to prevent threats, vulnerabilities, and data breaches. When assessing the organization’s security through a Risk Analysis consider the likelihood of a risk or compromise to the environment (very likely, likely, possible, unlikely, very unlikely) versus the impact the risk will have (severe, significant, moderate, minor, negligible).

Conducting an annual Security Risk Analysis is the first step toward a more secure environment and HIPAA compliance.

HIPAA compliance isn’t a one-time checklist. It’s ongoing, programmatic in nature, and requires demonstrated reasonable diligence to stay in good standing with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR). Anatomy IT. can provide you peace of mind with our expert HIPAA compliance services. To learn more, contact us here.

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