HIPAA Compliant Remote Access Software
HIPAA compliant remote access software provides HIPAA-covered entities and their busines associates with a secure way of remotely accessing systems containing electronic protected health information (ePHI) and simplifies the management of remote access.
Healthcare organizations can have dozens of vendors who require remote access to servers, applications, and healthcare data, and oftentimes several different methods are used to provide access to vendors. Without a single solution, management of remote access is time consuming, complex, and difficult to carefully control.
Healthcare employees also need remote access to applications, files, and ePHI and remote access has become even more important in the COVID-19 era. To reduce the risk of infection and help control the spread of COVID-19, there has been a major expansion of telehealth services. Healthcare professionals are now conducting more visits virtually and need to remotely access applications, EHRs, and files to provide those telehealth services.
Windows Remote Desktop Protocol can be used for remote access, but RDP is not HIPAA compliant by default. Without additional safeguards, RDP fails to satisfy several provisions of the HIPAA Security Rule.
Desktop sharing is suitable for providing IT support when users are at their computers, but it lacks security, functionality, and real-time oversight for most other uses.
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) can be used to secure remote connections with end-to-end encryption, but VPNs can be problematic. VPNs lack the controls required to efficiently manage remote access and identify and manage individual vendor users. Deployment and management of VPN access can be complex, and adding vendor accounts, setting permissions, and troubleshooting vendor access can be extremely time consuming.
HIPAA compliant remote access software is a convenient solution that standardizes remote access, greatly simplifies remote access management, improves security, and ensures compliance with the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules.
HIPAA Compliant Remote Access for Healthcare Organizations and their Business Associates
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires safeguards to be implemented to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of ePHI at all times, and naturally covers remote access to healthcare networks, EHRs, and ePHI.
HIPAA requires all users to be assigned a unique ID to allow their actions and ePHI activity to be monitored and tracked. Access controls are required to ensure only authorized individuals can access systems containing ePHI, authentication controls are required to verify the identity of users, and permissions must be carefully set to restrict access to ePHI on a need to know basis. Control measures should be implemented to automatically logoff users following a period of inactivity.
An audit trail must be maintained for all system activity and activity related to ePHI and logs must be regularly reviewed to identify unauthorized activity. When ePHI is being accessed from the Internet or a remote location, all data must be encrypted in transit to prevent interception and modification. All remote access attempts must be logged, including successful and failed attempts, and logs must be regularly reviewed. Passwords must also be stored in a secure, centrally managed location, protected by a firewall and other security measures. Safeguards must also be implemented to prevent abuse of remote access solutions, including measures to prevent brute force attempts to guess passwords.
Ensuring full compliance with HIPAA can be a challenge. Complex remote access arrangements with multiple vendors makes it easy for HIPAA Rules to be inadvertently violated, and for security vulnerabilities to be introduced that could easily be exploited by threat actors to gain access to systems and data.
Benefits of HIPAA Compliant Remote Access Software
HIPAA compliant remote access software is the easiest way to allow employees to work remotely and provide vendors with secure remote access to the systems they need, while safeguarding ePHI and patient privacy.
HIPAA compliant remote access software incorporates all the safeguards demanded by the HIPAA Security Rule including access controls, audit controls, authentication, logging, and end-to-end encryption for data integrity and transmission security.
HIPAA compliant remote access software allows healthcare organizations to carefully control who has remote access to systems, set permissions, and track exactly what actions are taken when remote access sessions are established. The software maintains an audit trail for regulators and provides valuable insights for internal investigations.
HIPAA compliant remote access software provides full visibility into the remote access environment. Without full visibility, it can be difficult for healthcare organizations to monitor the activities of employees and vendors and identify potential compromises and HIPAA violations.
HIPAA-covered entities can only use remote access software solutions in connection with ePHI if they enter into a business associate agreement (BAA) with the solution provider. The BAA outlines the service provider’s responsibilities with respect to HIPAA and provides reasonable assurances that the service provider will meet all its responsibilities under HIPAA.
Best HIPAA Compliant Remote Access Software
There are many vendors of HIPAA compliant remote access software but finding a solution that meets your organization’s needs, at the right price, can be a challenge. To help you with your search we have listed some of the best HIPAA compliant remote access software solutions to help you create a shortlist of suitable vendors.
SecureLink for Healthcare
SecureLink offers a cost-effective, easy-to-deploy HIPAA compliant remote access software solution that has been purpose-built for healthcare providers to manage vendor access and for use by technology vendors for accessing healthcare customers’ systems.
The platform can be accessed through a browser-based interface, making remote access simple for end users. Administrators can easily control access and set permissions and track individual users, with full visibility provided into the remote access environment. All connections are protected with 256-bit AES encryption, and audit trails are maintained with full tracking of users, including individual vendor users. Through the UI, the context for each connection is detailed, videos are recorded of each user session, with an audit trail maintained at the keystroke-level for each individual user with real-time views of user activity.
Vendors can access their applications directly without having to go through the IT team and the platform supports decentralized authentication to allow departments to approve vendors without the involvement of the IT department. The platform can also be used with non-SecureLink clients through the company’s Gatekeeper technology. A checklist is also built into the platform to help clients validate whether they are in compliance with HIPAA and other regulations.
The solution has been adopted my more than 31,000 organizations worldwide including healthcare providers, government agencies, MSPs, and tech firms, and is used to manage more than 28 million remote access sessions.
TeamViewer is a popular remote access and remote support solution that supports online collaboration and is ideally suited for large organizations. The solution incorporates all the privacy and security features to ensure compliance with HIPAA., including access controls, user authentication with 2FA, audit controls, and up-to-the-minute views of user activity.
The solution uses RSA public/private key exchange and AES 256-bit session encryption, with the private key remaining on the client computer, ensuring even TeamViewer does not have accessed to encrypted sessions. Safeguards are incorporated to provide protection against brute force attempts, with latency increased between connection attempts and protections extending to (botnet) attacks from multiple devices.
TeamViewer is used on more than 2 billion devices to support remote access for telecommuting workers and is available on a free trial.
LogMeIn Pro is one of the most popular remote access solutions for allowing remote workers to access files, applications, and on-premises computers, including multi-monitor displays. The platform supports file transfers with no size restrictions, remote printing, and unlimited remote access.
The solution incorporates all the necessary privacy and security safeguards to meet the requirements of the HIPAA Security Rule, including access controls, audit controls, password management, and at least 128-bit encryption, with 256-bit AES end-to-end encryption possible if permitted by the client browser. The solution supports group policies and allows controls to be applied on many aspects of host behavior.
Remote access sessions are logged on the host computer and administrators have access to up-to-the minute information on sessions, including usernames, IP address, logon/logout and remote-control events. The solution supports person and entity authentication, with a unique ID provided for each unique user.
LogMeIn Pro is available on a free 14-day trial to assess the solution in your own environment.
Netop Remote Control
Netop Remote Control is a versatile HIPAA compliant remote access software solution that can be used to provide secure remote access for healthcare employees and for providing IT support and monitoring medical devices.
Each user is assigned a unique ID for monitoring remote access activity, with authentication controls requiring multiple checks to verify identities before connection is permitted. Permissions can easily be set and managed centrally to provide least privileged access to resources. Controls can be set to record all activity related to ePHI, the solution protects against unauthorized modification of files, and all connections are protected with end-to-end 256-bit encryption. Audit controls provide instant access to remote access sessions, providing up-to-the minute views of who has access to sensitive data at all times.
The solution is ideal for supporting complex network environments and incorporates a full complement of tools into a single interface. The solution supports computers, tablets, diagnostic testing equipment, local servers, and medical devices such as x-ray machines, and provides healthcare workers with remote access to healthcare databases and directories.
Netop Remote Control is available on a free trial on both its cloud-based and on-premises deployments.