Are you using free anti-virus software or non secure servers?
What you need to know about computer security, professional grade anti-virus products, & HIPPA compliant e-mail servers
Recently I invested in some updates to my computer security for my acupuncture practice. Along the way I learned some things that I believe are important enough to share with other small business people or consumers in general. Protection from computer virus infections is important for anyone owning and using a computer.
Using free anti-virus software will miss at least 250,000 opportunities per day for viruses to infect your computer
It is currently estimated that our computers risk an average of 1 million malware infection exposure possibilities per day. Research shows that even the best free anti-virus program catches only 85% of exposures. Consumers often think: “Why would I pay for virus protection software, when I can get it free?” Here is a sobering calculation: using free anti-virus software will miss at least 250,000 opportunities per day for viruses to infect your computer. 85% Of one million is a big risk for your precious technology. So: are you feeling lucky? If not: this article can give you information on good action steps to protect you, your patients’ privacy, and your practice.
Read the small print!
Some low budget anti-virus software may not update the AV database automatically. So read the small print to determine how often updates occur and if the user has to do the download and update. If you don’t find it in the eye blurring and small font, call the manufacturer and ask.Norton currently promises once per week. But let’s again consider some scary math. We all risk 1 million computer virus exposures each day. If we are using viral protection software which updates once per week, that means we have 6 million episodes per week of risk on those non-updating days.
In comparison: business level antiviral programs can be updating as often as every 10 minutes in your computer’s background. Which option feels more secure to you?
Are you HIPPA compliant…really?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was passed by Congress in 1996.HIPPA privacy rules are national standards in place to protect individual medical records and private health information (PHI). The rules apply to health plans, clearing houses, and health care providers who deal with medical information electronically. More specifically for health care practitioners in small business: protection of patient privacy, medical records and use of secured servers is a must. You might not know that options like: gmail, yahoo etc. are not secure servers for the purposes of communicating with patients. According to Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, fines for noncompliance with HIPAA privacy rules can be as much as $1.5 Million per occurrence based upon the level of negligence.
To get more expert input on what is a complicated subject I did an interview with the brilliant and generous Peter Loose of the IT Guys of Novato, CA. Peter was kind enough to be interviewed and consulted for this Part 2 of this blog series. Peter and his son, Florian Miller, both specialize in computer security for businesses. The IT Guys are knowledgeable about HIPPA compliance for medical practitioners as well.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s interview and thank you for reading!
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Karen Reynolds, LAc, RN Acupuncture for Optimal Health
All content here is written personally by me in with the goal that it is be helpful to you. As long as you include the link for this blog entry to credit me as the author, it is fine to repost or share if you wish.
For scheduling information and appointment availability, do please visit my website at: KReynoldsAcupuncture.com.Be well! Karen Reynolds, RN, MS, LAc