The healthcare industry is one of the most highly regulated industries around. Due to the sensitivity of information and data that is collected, high levels of privacy and security are expected and demanded. An Identity and Access Management (IAM) solution can make all the difference in an organization’s efforts to achieve just that. “[An IAM solution] can bolster regulatory compliance by providing [organizations with] the tools to implement comprehensive security, audit, and access policies” [i]. By implementing a robust Identity and Access Management (IAM) solution, healthcare organizations can reduce human error, cut down on costs, and improve their security—all while optimizing their organizational efficiency.

To learn more about what exactly IAM is, click here.

Without further ado, let’s cover four of the many ways that an IAM solution can benefit your healthcare organization.

#1: Protect Patient Information

The first benefit is the simplest, but also one of the most important. In the healthcare industry, data privacy is the name of the game. How this information is protected is EVERYTHING for healthcare organizations. This sensitive information that we provide to healthcare organizations is known as our Personally Identifiable Information (PII), and could include your name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, as well as your SSN.

As a healthcare organization, you are tasked with protecting large amounts of PII. There are many ways to safeguard this information and protect it from unauthorized access, such as logging and auditing user activity, enforcing complex passwords, and transitioning from shared accounts to individual accounts. You are likely performing some—if not all—of these tasks already.

As effective as those and other tasks are at protecting PII, they are expensive to implement through manual means. By implementing an Identity and Access Management solution, the IT department can optimize and automate these processes, resulting in significant savings as well as allowing the IT department to reprioritize more impactful projects within the organization.

#2: Stay Compliant

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires strict regulations in protecting the privacy and security of health information (subsection 164.312) [ii]. In the past five years, there has been over $94 million in fines for organizations violating HIPAA [iii]. Implementing an IAM solution can make it much easier for organizations to stay compliant with all regulations, not just HIPAA. By automating identity management processes, you can reduce time-consuming tasks and remove the associated risks that comes with potential human error from the equation.

#3: Manage Access

Determining employee privileges can be very tricky, regardless of what industry you work in. One of the most unnoticed security threats an organization can face is when an employee has accumulated too much access as they switch roles within the organization. This is referred to as “permission bloat” and often happens with long-term employees.

Determining who has access to what is of the utmost importance. An employee with access that they shouldn’t have is a security risk, and perhaps a violation of regulations. By implementing an IAM solution, your organization will be able to automate your processes to assign and withdraw privileges as needed. These changes are processed quickly across the entire network and require zero manual intervention. You can take back control of your security and ensure that employees only have access to the data and resources they need.

#4: Reduce Human Error

In 2018 alone, healthcare organizations paid a record $28 million in financial penalties to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in response to HIPAA violations [iv]. If you go to HIPAA’s website, you can see that a lot of these fines came from mistakes and human error. When it comes to just cloud technologies, Gartner states that at least 95% of cloud security failures are expected to be the customer’s (i.e. the customer of the cloud provider) fault through 2022 [v]. Human error is simply a reality that technologies and security must account for.

With an Identity and Access Management solution in place, your organization can eliminate manual account and permission errors by implementing an efficient and fully automated management solution that streamline operations and reduces overall costs. Your IT department no longer has to manually manage access rights to data, and your organization no longer has to deal with ‘careless employees’ or the mistakes that could potentially result in a large fine for your organization.

SSO—Another Access Security Measure to Consider

Tangential to traditional IAM technologies, Single Sign-On (SSO) provides healthcare organizations with a secure method for accessing cloud and 3rd party applications, data, and other resources. SSO platforms protect access behind a single login and rely on passing security tokens (e.g. SAML) instead of traditional passwords to verify a user’s identity before granting access to the connected resources.

SSO uses tokens to cut down on the authentication challenges of having to repetitively log in to numerous resources or keep session windows from expiring. Full Identity-as-a-Service (IDaaS) platforms also incorporate more functionality beyond SSO, such as self-service resource requests.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) may be added to provide additional security steps such as requiring pin codes, one-time passwords, physical pass keys, or more. Even if a user’s password is compromised, an intruder cannot get past MFA without having the additional verification factors.

If you use an SSO solution to connect users to cloud and 3rd party resources, it means that the authentication can take place anywhere, at any time, on any device. This is a massive help to medical professionals who travel, such as field nurses or in-home caregivers. Instead of having to fight VPN challenges or other methods for logging and charting care, healthcare professionals can simply log in once and have access to all their resources.

Want to Learn More about Identity and Access Management?

Healthcare organizations need to implement an IAM solution. There are far too many risks and concerns associated with the improper management of your organization’s resources (error-prone access management processes, improper accumulated access, etc.). An IAM solution is a necessity. Luckily Tools4ever has an IAM solution that can provide your organization with exactly what you need to reduce costs and optimize efficiency, while helping your organization with its compliance efforts in accordance with HIPAA (and other regulations).

With Tools4ever’s Identity and Access Management Solution your organization can:

  • Automatically manage employee access rights for application and data as the employee changes roles throughout the organization
  • Employ a Self-Service functionality that allows employees to request access to resources, and managers can immediately approve them with zero IT intervention
  • Unburden System Administrators with managing user account changes via automated processes

And much more.

To learn more about Tools4ever’s IAM solution, click here.

i: https://www.csoonline.com/article/2120384/what-is-iam-identity-and-access-management-explained.html

ii: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/45/164.312

iii: https://compliancy-group.com/hipaa-fines-directory-year/

iv: https://www.fairwarning.com/insights/blog/5-types-of-insider-threats-in-healthcare-and-how-to-mitigate-them

v: https://www.mcafee.com/enterprise/en-us/solutions/lp/cloud-security-report.html