HIPAA Penetration Testing

Vulnerability scanning isn’t enough. HIPAA penetration testing manually attempts to exploit healthcare vulnerabilities and gain network access to ensure healthcare data security.

HIPAA security standards

Overview Of HIPAA Penetration Testing Requirements

Healthcare organizations are tasked not only with improving quality of life, but also securing a great quantity of protected information.

Hackers are drawn to the wealth of personally identifying information in healthcare records (Social Security numbers, insurance information, relationship data, and payment processing details are just the start!). As a result, healthcare entities need to have their networks and systems locked down to facilitate HIPAA compliance and protect electronic protected health information (ePHI).

This means maintaining a secure network, protecting cardholder data, managing vulnerabilities, implementing strong access control measures, and regularly monitoring and testing networks.

RedTeam performs vulnerability scans and HIPAA penetration tests to identify vulnerabilities before cybercriminals are able to discover and exploit them. This type of assessment carried out by our highly trained security consultants helps the healthcare organization:

  • Identify flaws present in the environment
  • Understand the organization’s level of risk
  • Help address and fix identified flaws

RedTeam Security’s HIPAA penetration testing involves experts who can view the healthcare security posture through the eyes of both developers and hackers. This dual awareness drives their discovery of areas where your security controls can improve. Our consultants then produce findings in written reports and provide your team with the guidance necessary to effectively remediate any issues we uncover.

HIPAA Compliance Requirements

To comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), healthcare organizations must first understand HIPAA Vulnerability Assessment Requirements.

The HIPAA Security Rule requires healthcare organizations to document a regular vulnerability scan to assess healthcare devices, applications, and networks for common vulnerabilities and exploits or security weaknesses. Viewed as foundational to compliance, this assessment demands evaluation of risks and vulnerabilities and implementation of “reasonable and appropriate security measures to protect…the security or integrity of ePHI [electronic Protected Health Information].”

The rule does not mandate a specific risk analysis methodology, as this will be dependent on the organization’s size, complexity, and capabilities. Nevertheless, the analysis is meant to accurately assess policies to prevent, detect, contain, and correct security problems. This high-level scan should be just one step in security testing.

HIPAA Vulnerability Scan Requirements

Vulnerabilities can be accidental or intentionally exploited, and generally fall into two categories: technical and non-technical. A HIPAA Vulnerability Scan is typically only going to address technical vulnerabilities that have the potential to result in a security incident.

There’s also the non-technical side of things. These vulnerabilities can include ineffective or non-existent policies or procedures to secure ePHI, networks, systems, devices, or even physical premises. This also takes into consideration the human element hackers might exploit through social engineering.

Achieving a thorough view of all the vulnerabilities — technical and non-technical — requires a deeper dive into the organization’s security protocols, policies, and procedures.

HIPAA Vulnerability Scan

A HIPAA vulnerability scan is a high-level, semi-automated test for holes, flaws, or weaknesses in development or information systems and for incorrectly implemented and/or configured information systems.

These scans are typically run quarterly or semi-annually to provide a cybersecurity checkup. It’s also recommended an organization perform a new vulnerability scan whenever it adds new equipment or installs new applications.

Analyzing and managing risk to protect electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI) as well as technical, hardware, and software infrastructure has become a critical part of healthcare organizational management. After all, in the two decades since the introduction of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, technologies have evolved dramatically.

Healthcare organizations have moved to electronic systems such as:

  • Computerized physician order entry
  • Electronic health records
  • Online patient claims and care management
  • Self-service insurance applications

Vulnerability scans are a diagnostic tool to help healthcare organizations stay ahead of bad actors and discover vulnerabilities before an unwanted party gains unauthorized access.

Learn more in this post: Vulnerability Assessment Versus Penetration Testing

HIPAA Penetration Test

Manual penetration testing can reveal the real-world ways in which hackers might compromise personnel, physical premises, and networks and IT assets. Experienced, outside professional testers can also help identify appropriate security measures to address potential opportunities for attack.

With so many areas of risk to remediate, there are several areas that may need attention to eliminate deficiencies:

    • System software
    • Workflow processes
    • Storage methods
    • Policies and procedures
    • Employee training

RedTeam’s HIPAA penetration testing identifies and documents potential threats and vulnerabilities, and also outlines the likelihood of threat occurrence, examines the potential impact, and determines the reasonable and appropriate security measures to take.

More Information

HIPAA Penetration Testing Approach

HIPAA Penetration Testing Deliverables

HIPAA Compliance Checklist

Are you complying with the security standards outlined within the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act? Download our free checklist to find out.

HIPAA compliance checklist

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