When it comes to compliance, keeping your data secure should be one of the biggest priorities for your business. How can different companies with different requirements make sure they are compliant?
What Is a Healthcare Compliant Data Center?
Some of the most sensitive data is healthcare information, which is why healthcare information is guarded with what is known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). There are many different requirements that a data center must abide by to be HIPAA-compliant.
When storing hospital records and patient information, for example, this data should be:
- Encrypted and secure to prevent unauthorized access, including all data and Web-based access.
- Equipped with an advanced encryption standard (AES) that should be implemented for patients’ health information.
- Protected by a secure firewall preventing unauthorized access.
- Capable of providing users with the right credentials to access the network remotely. Secured by a disaster recovery plan if there is a malfunction or any other problems with the server.
- Reinforced by storing hospital and patient records on a dedicated IP address that is not accessible to the public Internet.
- Secure, redundant, isolated, and have a high-speed connection.
What Are the HIPAA-Compliant Hosting Requirements?
There are many requirements for a data center’s storage to be compliant with HIPAA, but there are even more regulations a data center has to comply with for the data center as a whole to be known as an overall HIPAA-compliant facility. To be considered a healthcare host, a data center needs to:
- Offer full data security and management.
- Have unique IDs and passwords and specific procedures for logging in and out.
- Provide private IP addresses and private hosting availability.
There are also security requirements specific to a HIPAA-compliant data center as well:
- Antivirus and multifactor authentications are required to ensure privacy.
- A secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate encryption should be used for all patient information to stop phishing patient information.
- Encrypted virtual private networks (VPN) and private walls are required for extra security precautions.
- Disaster recovery and a backup plan are mandatory in case of a security breach.
- HIPAA mandates its compliant facility to be audited with an SSAE 18 report and to be SOC-certified.
What Is an SSAE Certification?
The Statement on Standards of Attestation Engagements (SSAE) audit measures the controls relevant to financial reporting. This audit process is managed by the Auditing Standards Board (ASB) of The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).
The SSAE regulates how a company conducts business and how it reports to compliance controls. There are three different reports included with an SSAE audit—these include SOC 1, SOC 2, and SOC 3. To comply with the SSAE, standards are through these reports:
- SOC 1 is a report for service organizations and pertains to internal control over financial statements.
- SOC 2 evaluates the business information system of security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy.
- SOC 3 is a report primarily used as marketing materials. Also, just like SOC 2, SOC 3 is based on Systrust and WebTrust principles.
The newest version of this certification is SSAE 18 (which replaced the previous SSAE 16). This new certification clarifies, streamlines, and simplifies the old process. These changes mainly have to do with third-party vendors and service organizations.
What Are the Benefits of Data Center Compliance?
All of these regulations and standards directed at data centers can be very beneficial for businesses that use their services. The first benefit is reducing the complexity of everyday operations. A company colocating its servers in a compliant data center is relieved from worrying about abiding by these rules and regulations themselves. A business that uses a compliant data center does not need to worry about the laws firsthand. It can leave the compliance details to the data center.
The next benefit comes in saving on costs. A business that uses a data center for managing its information can focus more on the everyday tasks that are crucial to its business. More importantly, using a compliant data center can save businesses the time worrying if their data center service provider is conducting its business correctly. Companies that use certified data centers do not need to worry about updating servers or taking care of network management and security.
Security is another enormous benefit. The best data center providers are equipped with the best protection, power, and network infrastructure. These data centers are constructed with redundant routers and paired with universal threat managing procedures to protect all sensitive data.
Lastly, all certified compliant data centers have continuous uptime and data availability. This means that your business can access all critical information anytime you may need it.
Other Data Center Proficiency Certifications
Besides the two major compliance certifications, other essential proficiency certifications can help companies find the best data center provider for them. Because a data center has many different professionals with different expertise working within its operations, many various proficiency certifications can be found within its workers.
Schneider’s Data Center Certified Associates (DCCA) is a basic level of proficiency for physical infrastructure. This certification covers the primary data center knowledge, such as cabling, cooling, security, fire suppression, and electrical supply.
Another proficiency certification is Cisco CCNA Data Center, which covers the basic knowledge of networking. For an intermediate and advanced level certification, there is the Cisco CCNP and CCIE Data Center certification. This certification discusses cloud, virtualization, and automation.
These are only a few of the many proficiency certifications one can get in the data center field. All of these certifications give data center professionals the knowledge of the different aspects of how the business works. A data center with individuals with these proficiency certifications can ensure the best data center operations.
We all have valuable information that we would like to keep safe. Using a trusted data center is very crucial to keeping our information secure. A data center that is compliant with these rules and regulations can keep your mind at ease whether it be for business purposes or personal use. If you are looking for a colocation or data center provider, make sure it is HIPAA-compliant and has an SSAE certification.
|Michael Isberto is the Blog Director and Content Writer for Colocation America. He received his BA in Communication Studies with an emphasis in Public Relations at California State University San Bernardino (CSUSB). Isberto is a communication professional with additional experience in public relations, marketing, and social media.|