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HIPAA Compliant Email Archiving

HIPAA Compliant Email Archiving

Is Archiving Emails in Compliance with HIPAA Necessary?

Although HIPAA compliant email archiving is not a requirement of the Security Standards for the Protection of Electronic Protected Health Information (the HIPAA “Security Rule”), there are valid reasons why healthcare organizations should consider archiving emails in compliance with HIPAA.

Under the Security Rule, healthcare organizations have to retain electronic communications containing PHI for a minimum of six years. During this time, access controls and audit controls have to be implemented to safeguard the integrity of PHI and prevent its improper modification or deletion.

HIPAA compliant email archiving has the necessary controls to adhere to the technical, administrative and physical safeguards of the Security Rule. Furthermore, by archiving emails in compliance with HIPAA, healthcare organizations free up valuable space on their internal servers and help to prevent data theft by dishonest or disgruntled employees.

How HIPAA Compliant Email Archiving Works

Email archiving solutions typically export emails to a service providers´ servers, where they are indexed for search and retrieval. HIPAA compliant email archiving differs inasmuch as emails are encrypted during export, storage and retrieval in order to protect the integrity of PHI and prevent “man-in-the-middle” attacks.

Service providers responsible for archiving emails in compliance with HIPAA have to implement policies and procedures that enforce strict controls over who has access to archived emails. Auditing mechanisms must also be put in place to satisfy the requirements of the administrative safeguards of the HIPAA Security Rule.

Once archived, authorized personnel can search for and retrieve emails as necessary in order to extract data about a patient, support litigation or comply with an audit request from the Department of Health and Human Services. Sent emails can also be recovered to confirm proof of delivery.

The Benefits of HIPAA Compliant Email Archiving

Archiving emails in compliance with HIPAA not only releases valuable space on internal servers, but also offers other benefits for organizations in the healthcare industry:

  • The sophisticated indexing process catalogs email content, metadata and attachments in order to save time and money when data is required for e-discovery or compliance purposes.
  • Due to being stored on service providers´ servers, HIPAA compliant email archiving can be included as part of a healthcare organization´s Disaster Recovery Plan.
  • Archiving emails in compliance with HIPAA also helps to prevent insider data theft or user negligence – these two factors being responsible for almost 50% of PHI breaches.

Indeed, insider data theft by dishonest or disgruntled employees is a major concern for many healthcare organizations. The value of PHI on the black market is considerable due to the opportunities to obtain free medical care, create fake identities and commit insurance fraud.

The temptation proved too much for one South Carolina state employee who – in 2012 – forwarded the PHI of more than 228,000 Medicaid recipients to his personal email account. Fortunately his actions were detected before any damage was done; but how many other healthcare employees may have conducted the same breaches of PHI without being found out?

Speak with TitanHQ about Archiving Emails in Compliance with HIPAA

TitanHQ is a leading provider of online security solutions for the healthcare industry and, in ArcTitan, we are able to offer a complete cloud-based, HIPAA compliant email archiving solution. ArcTitan archives healthcare organization’s emails securely, with authorized users able to safely search, view and retrieve emails via an Outlook email client or any web browser.

Our solution for archiving emails in compliance with HIPAA is compatible with all major mail servers and email services, includes full email audit functionality, can be accessed remotely and is scalable to over 60,000 users. ArcTitan is deployed on AWS to spare internal resources and reduce organization´s onsite data footprint while guaranteeing the same level of security as an on premise solution.