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Posts Tagged with "DATA SECURITY"

8 Ways to Protect Your Healthcare Organization from a Data Breach

Last year there were 328 data breaches of healthcare organizations. That’s a new record, up from 268 the previous year. In these breaches, the records of approximately 16.6 million Americans were exposed. These incidents occurred at all types of organizations in the industry, including clinics, insurance providers and their healthsystem business associates.

If you’re in the healthcare industry, here are eight steps you can take to ensure that your organization isn’t the next one in the news.

#1. Continually Evaluate HIPAA Compliance

You’re in healthcare, so you already know about HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act that safeguards Protected Health Information (PHI). Fines for non-compliance can reach millions of dollars and even include jail time, which should be enough to ensure that you take HIPAA seriously. But you should also think of HIPAA as a solid starting point for avoiding major cybersecurity threats.

HIPAA requires annual risk assessments, and it’s not a bad idea to assess your security and compliance even more frequently. In a typical organization a lot of changes are made in a year, including new software implementations and upgrades, employee turnover and role changes, or mergers and acquisitions—all of which can create vulnerabilities. These assessments are also a great chance to evaluate your internal security policy and incident response plan.

#2. Educate Your Employees

We all worry about the nefarious hacker, lurking in a dark room and furiously typing code to steal your organization’s records. The truth is that one of the leading causes of healthcare data breaches in 2016 was employee error.

Make sure that all employees in your organization know what personal information can be shared with patients, caregivers, and others according to HIPAA and any state regulations you need to follow. Give your employees a test of their security knowledge or run simulations through phone calls and emails, and reward the employees who respond correctly.

#3. Manage Roles and Access

Keeping medical records secure can be a challenge because they pass through so many hands, but the access that a doctor needs is different than that of a member of the finance or IT staff. It’s essential that every user has an individual account with role-based access appropriate for their position. The IT administrator should also have full visibility into who accesses or manipulates what data and when, so they can identify suspicious activity such as downloading large volumes of data to an unknown IP address.

#4. Subnet Your Network

It may seem like a basic mistake to an IT or security professional, but you might be surprised how many healthcare providers leave patient records exposed to anyone who accesses the publicly available internet. Subnetting, or creating separate subnetworks, allows you to set aside part of your network for the public and others (with more security) for any applications that touch medical records or credit cards.

#5. Use Multi-Factor Authentication

The standard username and password isn’t secure enough for users who need to access private patient information. Multi-factor authentication typically requires at least two of the following: something you know (like your password), something you have (like a token), or something you are (like a fingerprint). A 2015 report by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT found that, while hospital support for multi-factor authentication had risen by 53 percent since 2010, only half of small urban hospitals were capable of it. Fifty-nine percent of medium and 63 percent of large institutions had the capability.

If you are a healthcare organization that still doesn’t support multi-factor authentication, it’s a key step to take toward securing your data.

#6. Protect Devices and Be Cautious with BYOD

The majority of healthcare data breaches occur not because of hackers, but because of stolen or lost devices. For devices owned by your organization, make sure they are encrypted and that you have the ability to wipe them remotely.

You should also adopt strong security measures in your BYOD policy. Employees will want to have the convenience of easily accessing PHI from their tablets, laptops, or mobile phones, but if one of these devices falls into the wrong hands, the result could be devastating to your company. Here are some steps you should take in your BYOD policy:

  • Require strong authentication methods
  • Don’t allow medical records to be stored on employee devices
  • Prevent devices from connecting to healthcare applications beyond a certain distance from your facility

#7. Ensure Business Associates are Protecting PHI

Healthcare providers rely on a wide network of associated companies and services. Business associates of organizations that must comply with HIPAA are also held to HIPAA standards for protecting patient data and will be fined if they fail to do so. Your business associate agreements with these organizations should be tailored to both HIPAA and any state regulations that apply to your organization. The associates should be required to develop internal processes to assess security, and discover and report data breaches. Choose business partners that are agreeable to complying with security best practices or they will be a liability.

#8. Encrypt Data at Rest and in Transit

HIPAA states that covered entities should “implement a mechanism to encrypt PHI whenever deemed appropriate.” That can be a little hard to interpret, but regardless of HIPAA or other regulations, strong encryption is the best way to protect your data.

HIPAA also says that if encrypted data is stolen, the incident does not constitute a data breach. In other words, you can avoid damaging your reputation by having to notify your patients, the media, and the government by using encryption.

managed file transfer solution can encrypt your files both at rest and in transit using modern, secure encryption methods. Good MFT software will help ensure that you stay up-to-date as encryption standards change over time, while also making your data transfers simple to manage and audit.

To find out how GoAnywhere MFT can help you stay HIPAA compliant, download the guide.

 


FBI Issues Warning on FTP Servers

FBI warning for FTPThe FBI recently issued a Private Industry Notification to healthcare providers warning them of the dangers of unsecured FTP servers. According to the alert, the FBI is aware of criminal actors actively targeting FTP servers operating in “anonymous” mode, meaning a user can authenticate to the FTP server with a common username like “anonymous” or with a generic email address or password. The FBI notification cited a 2015 study from the University of Michigan that indicated over one million FTP servers were configured to allow anonymous access.

While the notification was intended for medical and dental facilities, inadequate FTP security is a concern across all industries. According to the FBI, “Any misconfigured or unsecured server operating on a business network on which sensitive data is stored or processed exposes the business to data theft and compromise by cyber criminals.”

The problems with FTP servers go beyond anonymous mode. For one thing, many organizations are running legacy FTP software that hasn’t been kept up-to-date with modern security concerns. Another widespread issue comes from granting excess permissions to trading partners or internal staff. Anyone given administrative access could change a setting on the server without realizing the potential security implications.

Hopefully it’s clear that you should be using encryption to protect your data. What some businesses fail to realize is that encryption methods vary greatly in strength based on factors like  key size and type of encryption ciphers used. Many of the older ciphers and protocols have been broken and are now obsolete. Finally, a major problem with legacy FTP servers is a lack of alerts if anything goes wrong and the lack of detailed logs to help you maintain compliance with industry regulations.

These common pitfalls can be addressed with a robust managed file transfer (MFT) solution. Managed file transfer offers a variety of strong, up-to-date protocols and encryption methods, allowing you to replace standard FTP with something more secure like SFTP or FTPS. Software with role-based security gives you the option to limit any user or user group to just the permissions they absolutely need, and detailed audit logs keep track of exactly which user took what action and when—essential information for your team and for auditors alike.

To learn more about how to secure an FTP server, watch the on-demand webinar, Top 10 Tips for Securing Your FTP or SFTP Server.

 


Preview of RSA Conference 2017 #RSAC

RSA conference

 

For those that are new to the annual RSA Conference U.S., this is one of the greatest info security conferences all year. The 2017 conference is said to be better than ever: more space, expanded food options, the new “Reserve a Seat” option and three full days of info security discussion led by global security experts.

Linoma Software will be attending this year’s conference, exhibiting in the North Expo. Our team is looking forward to learning which security topics are most prevalent among peers and engaging in meaningful discussions on today’s challenges and innovation. From an educational standpoint, there are several sessions we are most looking forward to:

 

CSA summit at RSACloud Security Alliance Summit 2017

February 13, 2017 | 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM | Marriott Marquis | Yerba Buena 5

Ah, “the cloud.” Over the past decade, businesses worldwide have been making the transition towards cloud computing and storage, and concern for security within the cloud has never been higher. In this special summit taking place during RSA 2017, world-leading security experts and cloud providers will join to discuss the threat landscape, data security innovations and global governance.

The keynote speakers are General Keith Alexander, CEO and President of IronNet Cybersecurity, and Robert Herjavec, CEO and Founder of Herjavec Group, and frequent investor on Shark Tank. Together with top officials from Symantec, Cryptozone, Duo Security and Oracle, these speakers are sure to bring decades of experience, lively discussion and actionable advice.

 

Peer2Peer at RSAMobile Devices: What Could Go Wrong? Discussion from the Frontlines

February 14, 2017 | 2:30 PM - 3:15 PM | Marriott Marquis | Nob Hill B

How many of your employees use their personal phones to access email, calendars or internal web resources? As of 2016, 77% of U.S. adults owned a smartphone, according to the Pew Research Center. In a world of BYOD (bring your own device), this session offers the opportunity to learn how your peers are dealing with security risks associated with mobile devices, apps and wi-fi networks that employees use.

This discussion will take place as part of the “Peer2Peers” breakout sessions, which is one of our favorite aspects of this conference. Facilitated by David Jevans, VP of Mobile Security at Proofpoint, it’s sure to spur meaningful conversations and peer-to-peer discussion.

 

Secure File Transfer for Enhanced Data Security

February 13-16, 2017 | Linoma Software Booth 4407, North Expo | San Francisco Moscone Center

Bring your most pressing file transfer questions to the North Expo, where secure file transfer experts from Linoma Software will be available to answer questions. This is a great opportunity to learn how a managed file transfer solution like GoAnywhere MFT can help to secure and automate transfers using a centralized approach.

We’re looking forward to connecting with you during the RSA 2017 conference! Be sure to stop by booth 4407 (map below).

RSA expo map to Linoma booth

 

Ready to get into the information security mindset? Watch the RSA 2016 opening theme video below for a glimpse into the discussions sure to occur during the 2017 conference.


3 Data Breaches That May Have Been Avoided through PCI DSS Compliance

data breaches avoided with PCI DSS compliance

 

“Dear Valued Customer,

As you may have heard, on September 8, 2014, we confirmed that our payment data systems have been breached, which could potentially impact customers using payment cards at our U.S. and Canadian stores.”

 

This is an excerpt from an actual email distributed by a large retailer, in the wake of a massive data breach jeopardizing over 50 million credit cards. Since 2004, Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) has stood as a core regulation aimed at thwarting breaches like the above, and any organization that accepts, transmits or stores cardholder data must comply.

Now, here’s the shocking truth: In the latest PCI DSS Compliance Report conducted by Verizon, none of the companies it had investigated in ten years had been fully PCI DSS compliant at the time they were breached.

In many cases, companies achieve total PCI DSS compliance once but don’t sustain it. According to the Verizon report, 80 percent of companies fail at interim assessment. Technology moves quickly, and compliance solutions and policies implemented in past years may not be enough to stand up to modern security threats.

Other organizations believe that they don’t have to worry about protecting data. They believe their business is too small to be the target of hackers, or too large and successful to be using outdated, inadequate security practices. Sometimes they believe that data breaches only affect big retailers, not other industries.

But PCI DSS compliance needs to be taken seriously by everyone or the consequences can be devastating. Here are three organizations that experienced the detriment of non-compliance.

home depot data breach logo#1: Data Breach at Home Depot Compromises 56 Million Credit Cards

In what went down in history as one of the worst retail data breaches of all time, malware infected Home Depot point-of-sale systems and stole millions of customer credit and debit cards. The Home Depot attack seems to be a case of relying on inadequate software solutions and policies for data breach prevention. Employees later said that the company used outdated antivirus software and failed to monitor the network for unusual behavior.

PCI DSS standards require routine vulnerability scans, but according to employees, more than a dozen systems handling customer information were not assessed and were off limits to much of the security staff. In Home Depot’s case, investing in a security software with the ability to audit security infrastructure for PCI DSS compliance, may have been the difference between a $19.5 million data breach settlement, and business as usual.

OPM data breach logo#2: Office of Personnel Management Data Breach Affects Millions

After hackers attacked the Office of Personnel Management (OPM)’s servers and stole the personnel files of 4.2 million former and current government employees, as well as the security clearance background investigation information of millions more, a congressional investigation uncovered the organization’s security shortcomings.

Among many other findings, the report took especial issue with the department’s lack of two-factor authentication for employee access to sensitive data, claiming it was an oversight that could have prevented the security breach. This points to a key problem that PCI DSS compliance is meant to address. It’s not enough to encrypt and protect your files during transfer, you need to monitor internal actors as well. A robust security solution will authenticate users, give them only the access they need, and maintain a detailed log of each user’s actions.

TJX data breach logo#3: Over 45 Million Credit Card Numbers Stolen in TJX Breach

TJX Companies, owner of popular home brands such as TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods, experienced a data breach in which more than 80GB of cardholder data was stolen over a period of 18 months. Before the company was able to detect and halt the breach, 45.6 records had been stolen.

Documents filed in court after the breach claimed that TJX had failed to comply with nine out of the twelve PCI DSS requirements. Factors contributing to the incident included an improperly configured wireless network, a failure to segment networks carrying cardholder data from the rest of TJX's network, and the storage of prohibited data. Two members of the PCI DSS Standards Council later pointed to PCI DSS compliance as the clearest way to protect data against a TJX-style breach.

PCI DSS Compliance Can be Tricky, We Get It.

No company embarks on an initiative to avoid PCI DSS compliance. You are trusted by your customers, partners and vendors to take the proper measures to secure and protect their sensitive payment data. It’s that trust that has kept your company successful for so many years!

We read about data breaches and attacks like these in the news on a regular basis, but we don’t pause often enough to audit our own data security practices. IT infrastructure in today’s enterprises is increasingly complex, especially for large companies with systems spread around the world like Home Depot. Add to that the fact that PCI DSS compliance has multiple, complex requirements, and it can be daunting for IT and security teams to implement a sustainable process that ensures ongoing compliance.

PCI DSS compliance can be greatly simplified by using software solutions with features designed to help you achieve security and compliance. This type of software addresses PCI DSS requirements, provides the information you need to satisfy an audit, and in some cases even helps you check whether you are meeting compliance standards.

PCI DSS Compliance with Secure Managed File Transfer

File transfers are an essential point of vulnerability to consider when developing your security strategy. The most common file transfer pitfall is relying on inadequate methods such as poor FTP implementation practices, file sharing apps, and unencrypted email attachments.

A secure managed file transfer (MFT) platform guards your sensitive data against attacks with robust security and encryption methods, all while streamlining the file transfer process and saving your team time and resources that can be used to tackle other potential security issues.  Furthermore, a good MFT solution will have features like detailed audit logging and compliance assessments to eliminate the headache involved with ensuring your file transfers are compliant.

To make protecting data transfers as easy as possible, make sure your managed file transfer platform provides:

  • Secure connections for the transmission of sensitive data
  • Integration with existing critical applications
  • Role-based security and user authentication
  • Strong encryption methods
  • Detailed logs for audit reporting

Securely managing your data transfers is just one aspect of achieving PCI DSS compliance, but it is an essential step toward fully protecting your enterprise against security threats.

 

Interested in learning more about PCI DSS compliance? Explore our PCI DSS resource section for requirement details, industry whitepapers and recent articles.

 

Assess the PCI DSS compliance of your file transfers for free when you try GoAnywhere MFT for 30 days. Sign up for a trial here.


Why Bother Upgrading Beyond Standard FTP?

Right out of the box, most operating systems come with a built-in File Transfer Protocol (FTP) tool that makes it possible to transfer large files between people, computers and servers. It accomplishes the key goal, which is to deliver the file from one place to another. However, too many organizations' philosophy has been that as long as the files were getting where they needed to go, standard FTP was good enough. That was especially true when they were transferring files internally.

The truth is that FTP alone has never been good enough, because too much information (file data, user names, passwords, etc.) is vulnerable to hackers and it only takes fairly rudimentary hacking skills to steal it. Now with increased pressure to protect sensitive data coming from regulators and consumers, it's urgent that companies implement a more secure file transfer method.

Take a look at this short video to hear Bob Luebbe, Linoma Software's Chief Architect, talk about the dangers of standard FTP.

 

 

At the end of this video, Bob mentions the value of clustering and load balancing to promote high active-active availability. Since this video was produced, we've also added these features to both GoAnywhere Services and GoAnywhere Director.


Federal Government Prioritizes Data Security

During the last State of the Union address, President Barack Obama included improving data security on his list of national priorities.

President Obama said, "America must also face the rapidly growing threat from cyberattacks½ We cannot look back years from now and wonder why we did nothing in the face of real threats to our security and our economy."

Including data security 0n the President's agenda is significant because it first implies that our government is not yet accomplishing this goal, and second it compels us to put the pieces in place "to protect our national security, our jobs, and our privacy."

Cyberattacks Not Always Sophisticated

Government Data Security Identified as Top PriorityWhile the list of companies who have suffered some form of data breach grows, the sad reality is that many cyberattacks (malicious or otherwise) are not "sophisticated" and could be prevented with off-the-shelf solutions. These first level attacks focus on corporate secrets, personal identity fraud, credit information, and private email.

The second level of attacks are those that attempt to disrupt our national security, financial institutions, and the backbone of our infrastructure. Internet providers, utility and transportation companies use communications to run switching stations, trucks, and trains, all of which would affect our livelihood if disrupted.

The President mentioned signing an Executive Order to work on this initiative (Executive Order 13636--Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity). The Executive Order calls for standards, processes and procedures to be proposed within 120 days of its signing (February 19, 2013).

Don't Wait to Take Action

When trying to comply with all of the various data security regulations (like  PCI DSS or HIPAA), it is critical to have the right procedures and products in place.

A variety of government agencies have already implemented solutions such as the GoAnywhere managed file transfer solution.  GoAnywhere takes a standards-based approach to data security using proven FIPS 140-2 validated encryption, SSL, TLS and SSH protocols, along with role-based administration and detailed audit trails.  This comprehensive approach allows federal agencies to protect and automate their batch transmissions, perform ad-hoc transfers safely and provide a compliant alternative to email attachments.

Linoma Software will be demonstrating the GoAnywhere solution, which is now listed in the GSA Advantage Directory, at the upcoming FOSE Government Technology and IT Expo held in Washington DC, May 14-16.

In the State of the Union Address, the President encouraged Congress to pass laws to "give our government a greater capacity to secure our networks and deter attacks."

Take a look at GoAnywhere today and learn how you can meet your security requirements and save costs through file transfer automation.  


Healthcare Industry Still Lags in Protecting Data

As healthcare information security requirements and penalties get tougher, a great deal of discussion is focused around how well the healthcare industry is securing patient data.

healthcare data security survey results

The general consensus is that the industry still has a long way to go. One of the industry's publications, Healthcare InfoSecurity, released the results of the Healthcare Information Security Today survey sponsored by RSA which took an in-depth look at security and IT practices of senior executives in the healthcare industry.

<< click on the image to learn more  

 

The survey reviews many information security topics including

  • Impact of a data breach
  • Security threats
  • Compliance and steps to improve security
  • Risk assessment

Some of the responses surprised us on how far healthcare companies need to go for proper HIPAA compliance. Take a look at these statistics:

  • 55% of respondents were not confident in their organization's ability to comply with HIPAA and HITECH Act regulations concerning privacy and security (grading themselves adequate or less).
  • 66% responded that their organization's ability to counter internal information security threats was adequate or less.
  • Only 47% of survey participants utilize encryption for information accessible via a virtual private network or portal.
  • 32% of respondents have not conducted a detailed information technology security risk assessment/analysis within the past year with 47% updating their risk assessment only periodically.

The good news is that the survey shows that healthcare organizations are taking steps in the right direction to improve their security practices.

  • 37% of organizations' budgets for information security are scheduled to increase over the next year.
  • 40% of respondents plan to implement audit tool or a log management solution within the next year.

When asked what their organization's top three information security priorities are for the coming year, the top responses included

  • Improving regulatory compliance efforts
  • Improving security awareness/education
  • Preventing and detecting breaches

Healthcare IT teams will need updated security policies, comprehensive training for employees, and reliable tools and solutions that can deliver functionality, ease of use, audit reporting, and efficient workflows that protect the security of confidential data at rest and in motion.

The pressure is growing, compliance audits are looming, and tackling these issues are just part of the evolution of the healthcare industry.  


Linoma Joins HANDD at InfoSecurity Europe

Following on the heels of the InfoSec Conference in Orlando last week, we've crossed the pond to co-sponsor an exhibition stand with longtime partners HANDD Business Solutions at the InfoSecurity Europe conference in London.  This event brings experts from all areas of cyber, network, cloud and data security together to discuss key issues and educate IT professionals on best practices.

InfoSecurity EuropeNo matter where an organization does business, keeping private data protected, avoiding data breach, and implementing appropriate policies and procedures to meet a variety of compliance guidelines are formidable challenges.

On the top of the minds of IT professionals who stopped by our stand, #C95, was how to find a better file sharing alternative than the free cloud-based services that have become popular with employees, but that are virtually impossible to monitor and track to meet compliance guidelines.


Hold the Phone! Your Cloud-Storage Files May Be Vulnerable

The cloud storage services market has seen tremendous growth in just the last two years. Reports indicate a growth from 300 million cloud storage subscriptions in 2011 to over 500 million in 2012. The popularity and convenience of mobile devices have fueled this growth, with cloud services presenting a way for companies and their employees to share files anytime and from anywhere.

dangers of mobile file transfers in the cloudThe ability to access virtually any type of document from your smartphone has been both a great tool, and a potentially serious risk.   Sharing files in the cloud allows your traveling sales representatives to access their latest sales report from their tablet, and lets the exec review accounting figures from their phones. Once the files are viewed, the users can delete them and assume everything is safe.

While cloud storage services may be convenient, they also present many security vulnerabilities. One of those vulnerabilities is that unauthorized users may be able to gain access to your files stored in the cloud through your mobile phones.

A recent article published in InfoWorld details the findings of a new report that focused on the security risks of using cloud storage services like Dropbox, Box and SugarSync. It described how researchers were able to recover a variety of different files from multiple mobile devices including iPhones and Android devices, even after they had been deleted from the cloud.  In addition, data about the cloud service user was also accessible via the phones.

Given how many mobile devices are lost and stolen every day, if you or your employees use a cloud storage solution to transfer sensitive data, it's possible that someone with the right expertise could access those files using your mobile device.

Two important precautions companies can take to minimize risk are to train employees to follow established security policies, and give them easy access to a secure and convenient way to share and store files.

Secure managed file transfer solutions are an excellent alternative to the cloud storage services, providing the ability to transfer files - both batch and ad-hoc -- without risk of unauthorized access. It puts the control for data security back into the hands of the IT team without compromising the workflow for employees.

Managed file transfer solutions offer many features not typically included in cloud based storage solutions like encrypted file transfer protocols, error reporting, audit trails, and support for SFTP, FTPS, and HTTPS - all important to maintain the utmost level of security.