HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, stands as a pivotal framework ensuring the safeguarding of sensitive patient health information.
For a hosting provider to claim HIPAA compliance, stringent standards related to security, privacy, breach notification, and more must be met.
Cloudways, a renowned managed cloud hosting provider, does not explicitly offer HIPAA-compliant hosting plans.
However, it provides a platform where users can construct environments that align with HIPAA requirements.
The Real Story Behind Cloudways and HIPAA Compliance
The Provider’s Standpoint
Cloudways itself doesn’t assert HIPAA compliance; instead, it extends support for users willing to create HIPAA-compliant setups on their infrastructure.
Leveraging infrastructure from Google Cloud and AWS—both HIPAA-compliant services—forms the backbone of Cloudways’ potential for facilitating compliance.
Steps Toward HIPAA Compliance on Cloudways
- Choosing a Compliant Server Location: Cloudways utilizes data centers from Google Cloud and AWS, ensuring a foundational compliance aspect.
- Google Cloud and AWS adhere to HIPAA regulations, providing a secure base for hosting sensitive healthcare data.
- Encrypting Stored Data: Enabling options for disk and database encryption ensures the protection of stored patient health information.
- Encryption fortifies data security, rendering it unreadable if unauthorized access occurs.
- Securing Data Transfer: Implementing SSL/TLS for data in transit and establishing VPNs for admin access upholds secure data transfer.
- Encrypted data in transit minimizes interception risks, while VPNs secure privileged access points.
- Access Control and Password Policies: Implementing stringent access control measures and enforcing robust password policies to limit unauthorized access.
- Restricted access and strong password policies fortify the overall security posture against potential breaches.
- Regular System Updates: Regular patching and updates keep the system fortified against known vulnerabilities.
- Continuous updates ensure that known vulnerabilities are addressed, bolstering the overall security framework.
- Backup Procedures: Setting-up automated backups and routinely testing restores ensures data availability and recoverability in case of incidents.
- Backup mechanisms serve as a safety net, guaranteeing data resilience and recovery in the event of any mishaps.
- Business Associate Agreement (BAA): Establishing a comprehensive BAA with Cloudways, defining roles and responsibilities concerning compliance obligations.
- The BAA outlines the duties and expectations between the healthcare entity and Cloudways, setting the tone for compliance.
- Risk Assessment and Documentation: Conducting thorough risk analysis and documenting compliance efforts solidifies the foundation of a compliant environment.
- Comprehensive documentation and risk assessment validate the healthcare entity’s commitment to meeting compliance standards.
- Employee Training: Educating all personnel handling protected health information ensures they are well-versed in HIPAA compliance.
- A well-trained staff helps in upholding the security and confidentiality of patient health information.
- Monitoring and Audit Protocols: Logging and auditing access and alterations in the environment aids in maintaining oversight and identifying irregular activities.
- Regular monitoring and audits form an essential part of ensuring ongoing compliance and security.
Going Beyond the Basics: Additional Considerations
Infrastructure and Application Security
In addition to the steps above, the healthcare entity must delve deeper into ensuring the security and privacy of the underlying infrastructure and applications hosted on Cloudways.
Employee Training and Cloudways’ Features
All employees handling sensitive data should receive specialized training on HIPAA compliance, while Cloudways’ array of features, like encryption and access controls, can aid in simplifying compliance efforts.
Cloudways for HIPAA-Compliant Applications
Cloudways presents itself as a robust platform for hosting HIPAA-compliant applications.
However, the onus lies with the healthcare entity to diligently configure and maintain a compliant environment.