HIPAA Compliant Cloud Storage Solutions
The scalability, cost-effectiveness, and flexibility of cloud computing are among the numerous benefits that have led healthcare businesses towards adopting it. Although sharing and storing files on the cloud is simple and handy, there are enough security issues with it that organizations with high data security or HIPAA Compliance standards need to take precautions. However, it's crucial to comprehend how industry rules affect cloud adoption before putting a solution into place, as well as what to look for when choosing a cloud-storage service provider. Compliance with HIPAA regulations may be a key determining factor for healthcare organizations.
Along with some extra advice on picking the finest HIPAA-compliant storage platform, we've listed a few well-liked and trustworthy cloud storage providers.
What to Look for in a HIPAA-Compliant Cloud Storage Platform
The most vital thing that you need from your Cloud Storage Platform partner is for them to offer a business associate agreement or BAA. This means that you can partner with them while remaining HIPAA-Compliant.
A BAA, in its most basic form, is an agreement between a healthcare provider and a person or group who will be granted access to, transmit, or keep Protected Health Information (PHI) as part of their services for the provider. All Covered Entities are required by the HIPAA Privacy Rule to have a signed BAA with any Business Associates they hire who may have access to PHI. The HIPAA Omnibus Rule modified the procedures for holding Business Associates and Business Associate Subcontractors accountable for alleged HIPAA breaches. Consequently, it is in the best interests of both the Covered Entity and the BA to keep a clear understanding of their relationship and how they expect one another to protect patient, customer, or employee data.
End-to-end encryption is used in the most secure cloud computing platforms. This zero-knowledge method basically guarantees that only one’s local hardware will be able to encrypt and decode information saved in the cloud. As a result, nobody will be able to access or alter your cloud volume without your consent, not even your cloud provider. Use a cloud storage solution with sufficient cloud storage security features even if you aren't storing highly sensitive data or think end-to-end encryption is unnecessary.
Should My Cloud Storage Option of Choice Be HIPAA Certified?
The provision of cloud services is not HIPAA-certified. A vendor must connect their HIPAA risk management program with FedRAMP and NIST 800-53, higher security standards that correspond to the HIPAA Security Rule, in order to fulfill the HIPAA criteria that apply to our operating model. In order to show how NIST 800-53 aligns with the HIPAA Security Rule, NIST released SP 800-66, An Introductory Resource Guide for Implementing the HIPAA Security Rule.
HIPAA Compliant Cloud Storage Options
Amazon Web Services (AWS)
AWS provides clients with a standard Business Associate Agreement (BAA) for signing. It accommodates the AWS Shared Responsibility Model and the distinctive services that AWS offers. Customers may utilize any AWS service in a HIPAA-designated account, but they should only process, store, and transfer protected health information in HIPAA-eligible services as specified in the Business Associate Addendum.
To guarantee that their HIPAA-eligible services support the security, control, and administrative procedures required by HIPAA, AWS adheres to a standards-based risk management program. Customers of Amazon and AWS can comply with the HIPAA regulations that apply to their utility-based operating model by using these services to store and process PHI. Based on customer demand, AWS gives new qualified services priority and adds them.
Microsoft will enter into BAAs with its covered entity and business associate clients in order to help clients who are required to comply with HIPAA regulations. All customers who are covered entities or business associates under HIPAA are offered a HIPAA BAA as part of the Microsoft Product Terms for use of such in-scope Azure services. Azure has created the physical, digital, and administrative safeguards outlined by HIPAA inside the in-scope Azure services. Microsoft provides contractual guarantees under the BAA on data security, reporting, and access in line with HIPAA, among many other crucial clauses. Microsoft assists you in adhering to HIPAA and, in its position as a business associate, complies with the HIPAA Security Rule obligations.
The built-in HIPAA compliance effort for Azure Policy translates to HIPAA compliance domains and controls. The built-in initiative definitions for regulatory compliance in Azure Policy allow users to access a list of controls and compliance domains depending on ownership—customer, Microsoft, or shared.
Google Cloud Platform (GCP)
Within the parameters of a Business Associate Agreement, Google Cloud Platform facilitates HIPAA compliance, but in the end, clients are in charge of determining their own HIPAA compliance. As required by HIPAA, Google will engage in Business Associate Agreements with clients. A security engineering team of more than 700 members, which is larger than the majority of on-premises security teams, oversaw the development of the Google Cloud Platform.
Google often submits to many independent third-party audits in addition to documenting its approach to security and privacy design in order to offer consumers external validation. This indicates that the controls existing in their data centers, infrastructure, and operations have been reviewed by an independent auditor.
When you create and manage a mission-critical application on Heroku, you provide Salesforce access to sensitive and important information about your company and your clients. Heroku undertakes audits and maintains a number of certifications on a regular basis to further develop customer confidence and make it possible for users to create certified apps on the platform. Customers can speak with the Heroku sales team about a Business Associate Addendum to the Master Subscription Agreement, which is necessary for HIPAA compliance if they wish to develop healthcare applications on Heroku that abide by US HIPAA.