What is data backup? Well, the simple answer is this – data backup is the process of making copies of your data and storing those copies in a separate location to the originals.
Why do healthcare organizations need the best data backup? For three main reasons:
- To ensure their business is protected and fully recoverable in the event of a cyberattack, system failure or natural disaster
- To ensure electronic protected health information (ePHI) is protected and fully recoverable in the event of a cyberattack, system failure or natural disaster
- To comply with HIPAA regulations
The Importance of Data Backup and Recovery In Healthcare Organizations Cannot Be Understated
Indeed, it can’t. Data backup is one of the most critical business operations a healthcare organization can perform.
Data backup ensures that no matter what happens, ePHI is always retrievable, business continuity is ensured and HIPAA violations can be avoided.
And make no mistake about it, healthcare organizations constantly face various threats that could lead to permanent data loss unless a robust data backup and recovery plan is in place.
Take ransomware attacks, for instance. A recent report from Corvus reveals that ransomware attacks against healthcare organizations have been on the rise substantially since the beginning of 2019.
A massive 75% increase was recorded between H1 2019 and H2 2019 and the firm projects the trajectory to continue through H1 2020.
(Image source: Corvus)
Further research published in the HIPAA Journal reveals that significant data breaches at healthcare organizations – i.e. breaches involving the exposure of 500 or more patient records – increased 37.4% between 2018 and 2019, with the total number of patient records exposed jumping from 13.9 million to 41.3 million over the same period.
(Image source: hipaajournal.com)
Why are cybercriminals increasingly targeting healthcare organizations? Well, medical providers handle huge amounts of high-value data.
Social security numbers, insurance information, addresses, health conditions, medicines taken, hospitals visited – this is all information that can be used by cybercriminals to launch further attacks on patients via social engineering.
As reported by Healthcare IT News, medical records command a high value on the dark web – as much as $1,000 per individual, in fact, which is roughly ten times more than the average credit card data breach record.
And it’s not just the big players that are at risk.
While it may be easy to assume that attackers would only target large medical organizations as it is they who hold the most amount of data, they also generally have larger cybersecurity budgets and better defenses.
Smaller organizations and practices may have less data, but they also tend to have weaker defenses.
Then there is the human element to contend with. 90% of data breaches are caused by human error, such as inadequate password hygiene or busy employees failing to screen emails and attachments for malicious links.
Aside from cyberattacks, data loss can occur from natural disaster damage – flooding, fire, earthquakes, etc. – as well as system failures.
As we all know, computers crash and network and hardware systems fail from time to time.
In addition, employees can forget to save their work. They might lose their laptop, have it stolen, or spill a cup of coffee on it.
And when these things happen, data is lost – and so it needs to be constantly backed up.
What is Data Backup?
For HIPAA-compliant organizations, permanent data loss is simply unacceptable.
It is not an option, in other words. To use the exact wording of the legislation, in order to be HIPAA compliant, organizations must “Establish and implement procedures to create and maintain retrievable exact copies of electronic Protected Health Information.”
This is data backup.
There’s more, however – namely that healthcare organizations must also establish a data disaster recovery plan to “restore any loss of data” in the event of a breach, system outage, or damage to computers/servers where ePHI is stored.
In other words, organizations must implement a robust data backup and recovery plan in order to comply with HIPAA regulations.
So, what is a data recovery solution?
Well, as we defined above, data backup is the process of making “retrievable exact copies” of ePHI.
Data recovery, meanwhile, is the process of retrieving those exact copies so ePHI can be restored and utilized. Put them together and you have data backup and recovery.
Best Practices for Data Backup and Recovery
The best method for data backup and recovery is to use the “3-2-1” procedure.
You create three (3) copies of your data, two (2) of which are located on different devices, with one (1) of them located offsite with a HIPAA-compliant cloud-based data storage provider.
The key to this methodology is the offsite backup.
While your onsite backup is useful for ensuring you have quick access to your data in the event of a small matter such as your computer crashing, offsite backup protects against the true catastrophes, such as cyberattacks and natural disasters.
It is only by keeping backups of your sensitive data in a secure, remote location with a HIPAA-compliant data backup and recovery provider that you can be sure that you're fully protected against data breaches, natural disasters and human error, including the accidental deletion of files.
Full Data Backup and Recovery with UnisonBDR
Working with a reputed and reliable cloud-based data backup and recovery solution provider means your data will always be recoverable in a matter of hours no matter what happens.
You will never pay a ransom, never forget to backup your files and never have to worry about breaching HIPAA regulations.
Central Data Storage is the provider you’ve been looking for.
UnisonBDR, our HIPAA-compliant data backup and recovery solution, automates your backups, meaning you don’t even need to think about backing up your ePHI – our system does it automatically.
What’s more, our 448-bit end-to-end encryption exceeds military-grade standards, ensuring your ePHI is continuously protected from cyberattacks and all other outside threats – both in transit and at rest in our secure private cloud.
Our solution is designed to get your business back up and running in two hours, with a full data restore completed withing 24 hours. Your entire file history – every version – is always protected and can be recovered quickly to any device when you need it.
And with unlimited storage capacity, dual authentication and ransomware recovery, our solution ensures that your data is always safe, fully protected and retrievable no matter what.
Download our new eBook on creating your disaster recovery plan to learn how to backup and recover your data with confidence, or check out UnisonBDR here!