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Navigating Cybersecurity: Essential Questions to Ask Your Home Care Software Provider

Published on March 6, 2024 by Sharon Morrisette

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With cybersecurity at the forefront of any business operation nowadays, it goes without saying that in the home care sector, service provision and data security must always go hand in hand.

As we examine the complexities of data security within the home care sector, it’s crucial to understand the gravity of potential risks inadequate security measures pose.

In this blog, we hope to equip you, as a home care agency owner, IT professional, or compliance officer, with essential insights into evaluating and enhancing the security of your agency’s software systems, as well as empower you to make informed decisions about your provider.

By addressing key questions and considerations surrounding software security, you can protect your agency against cyber threats, safeguarding your reputation and maintaining the trust of your clients.

The importance of cybersecurity in healthcare

Cybersecurity is not just a buzzword; it’s a critical necessity in healthcare.

According to a 2023 report from IBM, healthcare data breaches cost an average of $10.39 million per incident, significantly higher than breaches in other industries. This staggering statistic underscores the importance of robust cybersecurity measures in protecting sensitive patient information within home care agencies.

Furthermore, with the rise of telehealth services and remote patient monitoring, the attack surface for cyber threats has expanded, making healthcare organizations more vulnerable to data breaches and cyberattacks.

As a result, home care agency owners must recognize the need for stringent cybersecurity practices. Implementing proactive security measures, staying informed about the latest threats, and fostering a culture of cybersecurity awareness among staff are vital steps.

When evaluating home care software providers, it’s crucial to examine specific aspects of their security measures to guarantee your agency and your customers are protected against external threats.

Here are seven key security questions to ask home care software providers, whether you are evaluating new options or looking to improve the cybersecurity knowledge of your current platform:

1. How does the software ensure data is encrypted in transit and at rest?

Encryption is the process of converting plain text or data into a scrambled or encoded form, known as ciphertext, using an algorithm and a key. Encrypted data can only be understood by someone who possesses the correct key, ensuring its confidentiality and security.

For home care agencies, it’s therefore vital data is encrypted both in transit (while being sent) and at rest (in storage) to safeguard sensitive patient information and maintain compliance with privacy regulations. This ensures confidentiality and prevents unauthorized access or data breaches. 

2. What measures are in place to control access to sensitive information? How often is user access reviewed?

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Always discuss access controls with your homecare software provider and delve into the specific measures implemented to restrict access to authorized personnel only.

Understanding the role-based access controls, multi-factor authentication processes, and audit trails can help ensure strict confidentiality and integrity of patient information and administrative functions.

Additionally, it is important to know how often user access is reviewed, within your organization as well as with your software provider.

3. What security framework does your software provider follow? 

The question of which security framework a software provider follows is of utmost importance for several key reasons. Security frameworks like SOC2, CIS, and NIST offer guidelines and standards to aid compliance with various regulatory requirements such as HIPAA or GDPR. Therefore, knowing which framework the software provider adheres to will help to avoid potential legal issues or penalties.

Moreover, different frameworks offer varying levels of security practices and coverage. By knowing the framework followed, home care providers can gauge whether the software adequately addresses their security needs and mitigates potential risks.

4. What procedures does the provider have in place in the event of a data breach? What is their notification process?

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Unfortunately, sometimes security incidents are unavoidable. That’s why it’s important to fully understand the steps that your home care software provider will take in the unfortunate event of a data breach.

Inquire about incident response plans, notification procedures, and how the software provider assists in mitigating potential damages to enhance proactive risk management.

5. How often are security audits conducted, and by whom?

Be sure to find out about the frequency and scope of security audits the software provider conducts.

Understanding the auditing process, past audit results, and how findings are addressed provides transparency into the home care software’s security posture. This allows you to assess the level of diligence and scrutiny applied to the software’s security measures, offering assurance that potential vulnerabilities are identified and remediated effectively.  

6. What training do employees receive on data security, cybersecurity, and privacy (i.e. HIPAA)?

Inquire about the regularity and comprehensiveness of employee training concerning HIPAA compliance and data security best practices. Specific training modules, assessments, and ongoing education programs will ensure employees have the necessary knowledge and skills to maintain a robust security posture and adhere to HIPAA regulations effectively.

7. How does the provider assess and manage risks from third-party vendors?

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Understand how the home care software provider manages third-party risks and addresses security concerns related to integrations and data sharing. Inquire about third-party assessments, contractual obligations, and incident response plans to evaluate system vulnerabilities thoroughly.

Aaniie’s commitment to security

At Aaniie (formerly Smartcare), we take immense pride in our commitment to employing industry-leading security practices. This dedication ensures the safety not only of your data but also of your employees and clients.

For us, security isn’t just a feature; it’s an integral part of everything we do. Here’s what sets us apart:

  • Industry-standard encryption and backups: Your data’s security is ensured through industry-standard TLS encryption technology, ID verification tools, and scheduled automated backups.
  • Cloud-hosted solutions: We utilize cloud-hosted solutions with secure servers and services, boasting a best-in-class hosting environment with an uptime of 99.99%.
  • HIPAA compliance and best practices: We adhere strictly to HIPAA compliance and healthcare IT industry best practices, creating a secure environment for all users.
  • SOC2 Type 1 examination: We have successfully completed a SOC2 Type 1 examination, validating our ability to manage data with the highest compliance and security standards.
  • Rigorous testing and security scans: Our security measures include rigorous testing and security scans, including penetration tests and OWASP Top 10 vulnerability assessments. This ensures prompt identification and resolution of security vulnerabilities.

Our dedication to security is fundamental to our commitment to earning and maintaining our clients’ trust and peace of mind.

Ensure safety first – always

As a home care agency owner, it’s crucial that you take a proactive approach to data security before a data breach occurs.

With the increasing prevalence of cyber threats and the stringent requirements of regulations like HIPAA, ensuring robust data security measures is non-negotiable.

By asking these pertinent questions, you can make informed decisions as to whether your software provider of choice is committed to upholding stringent security standards, thereby fostering trust, ensuring confidentiality, and safeguarding the integrity of patient information. 

At Aaniie, we understand the unique challenges you face. We give you peace of mind with data protection with cutting-edge encryption, stringent access controls, and comprehensive compliance standards. 

Your data security is our top priority, and we are here to assist you every step of the way. 

Contact us today for more information or to book a free demo.