What is HIPAA-Compliant WordPress Hosting And Why HIPAA is Important?

By Vinayak Pawar | December 18, 2022

Medical industry is aware of HIPAA but if you are hearing it for the first time, let’s learn What is HIPAA Compliant.
HIPAA compliance means that a company is complying with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, which helps protect your medical information from being shared or mishandled by companies. The law has been around for almost 20 years and is super important for protecting your privacy when you use healthcare services.

HIPAA-compliant companies will have policies in place to protect your medical information, as well as employees who need access to that information. When working with a HIPAA-compliant company, you can rest assured that your data will be kept private and secure.

HIPAA Compliance in WordPress Hosting

HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, HIPAA requires that healthcare providers, health plans, and healthcare clearinghouses ensure that patients’ protected health information is handled in a secure manner. It also requires them to provide patients with notice of the ways they can request access to their health information and how they can challenge any requests for access or amendment of that information.

In order to comply with HIPAA, you will need to make sure your WordPress site has security features installed on it. These include:

-Password protection

-Captcha/CAPTCHA validation (optional)

-Encrypted login

HIPAA compliance in WordPress hosting
Healthcare providers can use the popular WordPress content management system (CMS) to create websites that collect, display, process or transmit protected health information, provided a HIPAA-compliant WordPress hosting platform is used or the server is configured to comply with HIPAA security standards.

If you want to create a HIPAA-compliant WordPress website, you will need to have a HIPAA-compliant web hosting environment. While it is possible to create such an environment in an organization’s data center or on-premises hardware, it is much easier to use a third-party platform.

A HIPAA-compliant web hosting platform is the easiest choice as the platform provider will ensure that all appropriate security controls are implemented to meet the requirements of the HIPAA security rule. These controls will also be maintained by the host company to ensure ongoing compliance.

To protect against unauthorized access to data, security controls must be layered and robust. Security controls must include a fully managed firewall that protects against unauthorized access by malicious intruders and provides oversight of network gateway points. Full management means continuous monitoring and full event logging. HIPAA compliance in WordPress hosting Log management and log monitoring are critical elements of HIPAA compliance. Logs are used to identify access, attempted access, system changes, transmission, storage, and deletion of data.

HIPAA compliance in WordPress hosting Features

Fully managed firewall
Our wide-spectrum firewall protects the periphery of your network from malicious intruders, from implementation to 24/7 protocol monitoring. In addition, Atlantic.Net will maintain close surveillance of your network gateway points, a robust security response in the event of a breach, and regularly scheduled device health checks.

Intrusion Prevention Service
Unlike a firewall, IPS monitor network traffic for abnormal activity, such as late-night logins or file access by unauthorized agents. This layer of security complements the firewall by scanning for attacks that come from the network. Our IPS meet certification requirements and are SOC 2 or SOC 3 (SSAE 18) compliant with the American Institute of CPAs.

Encrypted VPN
This service protects your data transmission by sending it through an encrypted VPN tunnel. Other services include web SSL certificates to verify ownership of websites that contain access points to sensitive data and client connections.

Encrypted backup
Our encrypted backup service takes your HIPAA compliance to the next level and automatically encrypts your data before it is written to disk using Advanced Encryption Standard 256-bit. Here, each encryption key used to hide data is encrypted using master keys. AES-256 is the only publicly available encryption cipher that has been approved by the National Security Agency (NSA) to protect top-secret information.

Log management system
Critical to meeting HIPAA compliance requirements, our log management service oversees the full management of the transmission, analysis, storage, archiving, and disposal of your log data.

Who Must Comply with HIPAA and Why?

HIPAA defines two types of organizations that must comply with its requirements:

• Covered Entities: HIPAA defines “covered entities” as healthcare organizations and their employees who have access to PHI. This includes doctors, nurses, and insurance companies.

• Business Associates: Under HIPAA, “business associates” are organizations that provide services to covered entities that involve access to PHI. For example, an organization that processes billing for a healthcare provider has access to patient names, addresses, etc. that are protected as PHI under HIPAA.

Under HIPAA, both Covered Entities and Business Associates must comply with HIPAA. The entities covered are directly regulated by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). HIPAA requirements are enforced on business partners through their contracts with covered entities.

However, the regulation only applies to organizations that meet the definition of covered entities or business associates under the law Other organizations that have access to health information but do not receive it from covered entities are not subject to HIPAA regulations. For example, developers of health and fitness apps that collect health information directly from users but are not healthcare organizations do not have to follow its guidelines.

However, these organizations could benefit from it. HIPAA describes best practices for protecting PHI, and following these best practices can reduce an organization’s exposure to cyber threats and the likelihood and impact of a potential data breach. Additionally, in the event of a breach or security incident, compliance helps demonstrate that a company has performed due diligence and made good efforts to protect its customers’ data.

What is HIPAA compliance in WordPress hosting rules?

HIPAA is divided into two main rules: the Privacy Rule and the Security Rule. In addition to these rules, there is a breach notification rule that describes how organizations should report breaches of PHI and a summary law rule that extended HIPAA’s requirements to business associates as well.

Personal data protection rules. The Standards for the Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information (Privacy Rule) dictate how healthcare organizations should protect certain types of health information entrusted to them. The Privacy Rule defines when PHI may be accessed and disclosed. It also defines safeguards that covered entities should have to protect PHI and gives patients certain rights regarding their PHI.

Safety rule. The Security Standards for the Protection of Electronic Protected Health Information (Security Rule) describes the IT security controls that companies should have in place for protected health information (PHI) that is stored or transmitted electronically. It provides specific IT security controls, processes, and procedures that organizations must have in place to meet the data protection requirements set out in the Privacy Rule.

HIPAA Protected Data

HIPAA is designed to protect PHI provided by patients to covered entities and their business associates. HHS defines eighteen types of PHI identifiers, including:

1. Name

2. Address

3. Key data

4. Social Security Number

5. Telephone number

6. Email address

7. Fax number

8. Health plan beneficiary number

9. Medical record number

10. Certificate/license number

11. Account number

12. Vehicle identifiers, serial numbers, or license plate numbers

13. Device identifiers or serial numbers

14. IP address

15. Web URLs

16. Full-face photo

17. Biometric identifiers such as fingerprints or voiceprints

18. Any other unique identification numbers, characteristics, or codes

Common HIPAA compliance in WordPress hosting Violations

HIPAA Compliance in WordPress Hosting

HIPAA compliance is mandatory for covered entities, and these organizations may be subject to penalties for noncompliance. HIPAA compliance in WordPress hosting defines four levels of violations:

• Level 1: The Covered Entity was not aware of the breach and the breach could not reasonably have been prevented if the Covered Entity had made a good faith effort to comply with HIPAA. Penalties range from $100 to $50,000.

• Level 2: The covered entity was aware of the violation but could not have prevented it in light of a good faith effort to comply with HIPAA. Penalties range from $1,000 to $50,000.

• Level 3: The violation occurred as a result of “wilful disregard” of HIPAA rules that the covered entity attempted to correct. Penalties range from $10,000 to $50,000.

• Level 4: The violation occurred as a result of “wilful neglect” that the covered entity failed to attempt to remedy. Penalties start at $50,000.

Most HIPAA compliance in WordPress hosting violations involves breaches of PHI, whether intentional or otherwise. Some common HIPAA violations include:

• Lost or stolen devices

• Ransomware and other malware

• Compromised user credentials

• Accidental sharing of data via email, social media, etc.

• Physical break into the office

• Breach of electronic health records (EHR)

HIPAA compliance in WordPress hosting Checklist

HIPAA Compliance in WordPress Hosting

Achieving HIPAA compliance in WordPress is a multi-step process. Some key steps to take include:

1. Determine Your Compliance Obligations: As previously mentioned, HIPAA applies to covered entities and through them to their business associates. Under HIPAA, covered entities are defined as health care providers, health plans, and health care information centers. Their business associates are any organizations with which they share PHI.

2. Know the HIPAA Rules: The HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules define the responsibilities of an entity or business associate under HIPAA. Understanding the required controls, policies and processes are critical to achieving and maintaining compliance.

3. Identify Scope of Compliance: HHS defines eighteen types of data that qualify as PHI and must be protected under HIPAA. Identifying where these types of data are stored, processed, and transmitted within an organization’s IT environment is critical to determining which systems and employees are subject to HIPAA mandates.

4. Conduct a gap assessment: An organization may have some of the required HIPAA controls in place, but others may be missing. A HIPAA gap assessment is essential to identify where a company is not meeting compliance requirements.

5. Deploy Missing Controls: A gap assessment can identify where the organization is currently non-compliant. After identifying these gaps, develop and implement a strategy to close the holes.

6. Create Required Documentation: HIPAA requires covered entities to have certain documented policies and processes. If any processes are missing or undocumented, generate the required documents.


7. Prepare for compliance audits: Passing a compliance audit requires the ability to demonstrate to the auditor that the organization’s security controls, processes, and procedures meet the requirements of the regulation. Develop a plan to pass the audit and collect all required data and reports prior to the audit.

How to Check HIPAA compliance in WordPress hosting Points That Can Help

The primary goal of HIPAA is to protect PHI entrusted to covered entities and their business associates. The HIPAA privacy and security rules mandate that organizations control and monitor access to PHI and protect it from unauthorized access.
Check Point offers a variety of solutions to help healthcare providers and other organizations become compliant with HIPAA and other regulations. Check Point Cloud Guard performs compliance monitoring, data collection, and reporting for cloud environments. To learn more about achieving cloud compliance with Cloud Guard, you can sign up for a free trial.

Conclusion

In this post, we’ve covered some of the most common HIPAA violations, what they are, and how to avoid them. We hope that this information helps you stay HIPAA-compliance in WordPress hosting and if you have any questions or concerns about your compliance, feel free to reach out!

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