Why Technology is Key to Your Compliance Reporting

Whether you’re a shrimp importer tracking the temperature of shipped shrimp, a nonprofit using state or federal grant funds or a healthcare professional protecting patients, it’s likely you are required to meet compliancy regulations. This, in turn, necessitates a robust compliance management plan.

It’s not enough to track compliance, you also have to be able to collect, secure and report information to regulatory entities. Tracking compliancy is particularly difficult and would be almost impossible without technology as a key tool in successfully meeting regulations.

Just like you need a CPA for tax services or an attorney for legal advice, you need a third-party IT consultant who understands how compliancy relates to your technology environment. Integrating compliancy software and specific security practices into your day-to-day operations is crucial to reporting data accurately to governing agencies. In fact, securing data is the primary objective of many compliancy laws. Compliance auditors must see evidence that policies, procedures and practices have been implemented to secure the data required by compliance guidelines.

When looking for an IT partner to manage the technology aspects of your compliancy plan, make sure they have experience and expertise in the following areas.

4 Compliance Objectives Your IT Partner Should Manage

  1. Control of your environment
    Most compliance laws require organizations to have a process to plan and manage IT risk. As a third-party provider, your IT managed service provider must also meet standards set forth by the regulator. In fact, many times a third-party IT service is required by an audit.
  • Develop strategic plan for IT plans and priorities
  • Regularly evaluate IT risks and address any risks identified
  1. Data center and backups
    An appropriate, reliable data backup and recovery processes must be part of your strategic plan. Data and file server backups are performed – and tested – to minimize the risk of lost or corrupted data. Backups should only be accessible by authorized personnel and this practice needs to be documented.
  • Provide logs and snapshots of backup intervals
  • Ensure parties that house backups have proper controls in place
  1. Information cybersecurity
    Software, data and equipment are safeguarded to prevent unauthorized access. This includes securing email, files and network information while physically protecting server rooms, offline data storage and hardware.Many compliance regulations place a high emphasis on this area as non-compliancy potentially affects many people through loss of personal information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers and health information. Information security reaps a high number of legal infractions and fines.
  • Develop and implement information security policies
  • Document employee changes including processes for removing and issuing user accounts
  • Proof of IT password policies and practices being followed
  • Inventory of security controls in place such as firewalls, routers, intrusions detectors, etc.
  • Conduct vulnerability assessments
  1. Change management
    A centralized change tracking system ensures that any organizational application, database and operating system changes have been approved and are being managed in conjunction with compliance regulations.
  • Formalize policies to manage changes
  • Maintain a list of system changes
  • Provide supporting documents to prove system changes have been authorized

As your company’s Chief Information Officer, DiamondIT is your partner in meeting compliancy tracking, remediation and maintenance requirements. Don’t let industry or governmental regulations stand in your way of success. Our team is ready to help – Contact us online or call 877-716-8324.

4 Reasons to Include IT in Your Compliance Management Process

Regardless of the industry you’re in, most businesses have regulations and requirements they have to abide by, making compliance an essential part of being successful.

The cost of maintaining compliance

The cost of regulatory compliance averages $12,000 a year for most small businesses, says the National Small Business Association. For new businesses, direct and indirect costs to stay compliant in the first year top $80,000.

Of course, the cost of non-compliance can be much steeper. HIPAA violations range between $100 to $50,000 per violation or record with a maximum penalty of $1.5 million per year, and Sarbanes Oxley fines are up to $5 million and 20 years in jail. Regardless of the monetary cost of non-compliance, loss of production and reputation may take a higher toll on your business.

The rules that regulate your regulation

From Food and Drug Administration and the SEC to OSHA regulations, businesses ranging from healthcare, finance, agriculture and energy face complicated rules – and the number of rules are ever-increasing. In 1960, the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations was about 20,000 pages; today, it has over 185,000 pages – an 825 percent increase!

Tracking is an important component of managing compliance. Whether you’re an importer needing to trace your product from point-of-origin to point-of-sale or an oil producer tracking equipment parts from the manufacturer, the success of your business (and, often, the safety of your customers and employees) are dependent upon your ability to meet tracking requirements.

The sheer complexity of being compliant makes it necessary to use technology to meet requirements.

As with many government programs, compliance programs tend to be complicated and time consuming. Integrating compliance tracking into your culture is not as simple as reaching out to colleagues to borrow a spreadsheet. An experienced, professional IT managed services provider is the best resource for implementing a seamless, automatic tracking system into your regular operations and existing technology.

As your personal Chief Information Officer, DiamondIT helps you manage compliance tracking projects:

  1. Help evaluate and select the best software for compliance tracking
    New software can be problematic if your IT provider hasn’t inspected it to make sure it will work with your existing resources and to assure that it does what it says it will do. DiamondIT works with you to evaluate the software that will work for your current systems.
  1. Ensures hardware requirements are in place
    New software may have different hosting requirements than you have in place. DiamondIT ensures that your new software is compatible with your hardware.
  1. Advises on ways to integrate the app into your day-to-day operations
    Don’t make the mistake of purchasing software without knowing whether or not it will integrate into your operations. Software vendors often don’t look past their own apps to see if the new app will integrate with your existing infrastructure.
  1. Monitors your system
    Lapses in compliance tracking can lead to messy audits when the government comes calling to inspect your compliance management. An MSP monitors your systems to ensure your software is up-to-date and functioning optimally.

Don’t end up with a compliance tracking system that fails to meet your needs. Let Diamond IT help you address your compliance needs so they are effective and fit into your current technology environment.

Upgrading Network Security Systems to Protect California Hospitals From Confidentiality Lawsuits in 2016

networklockThe long reach of litigation has grabbed onto every element of the healthcare industry, creating something of an arms race between prosecutors and hospital administrations. As technologies, such as electronic health records, keep growing and moving, new issues can be unveiled and exploited. Patient confidentiality, for example, has become significantly more complicated to protect than it was 20 years ago. That doesn’t change the fact that federal and California law allows patients to sue doctors and hospitals for failing to take reasonable measures to protect their confidential information. This means it’s more important than ever before for healthcare facilities in California and throughout the nation to implement security systems that protect their patients’ information.

Upgrading Network Security to Protect California Clinics From Confidentiality Lawsuits in 2016

IT solutions medicalThe long reach of litigation has grabbed onto every element of the healthcare industry, creating something of an arms race between prosecutors and medical clinic administrations. As technologies, such as electronic health records, keep growing and moving, new issues can be unveiled and exploited. Patient confidentiality, for example, has become significantly more complicated to protect than it was 20 years ago. That doesn’t change the fact that federal and California law allows patients to sue doctors and clinics for failing to take reasonable measures to protect their confidential information. This means it’s more important than ever before for healthcare facilities in California and throughout the nation to implement security systems that protect their patients’ information.

Why Network Assessments Are Becoming De Rigueur Among California Hospitals in 2016

IT solutions medicalThe old adage goes that money doesn’t grow on trees. That’s still true, but close to Bakersfield’s numerous (if spread out) buckeye and scrub oak trees, there’s a source of capital that may be just as good for local medical facilities. Your hospitals can get a share of the $6.2 billion in funding that was formally approved as a part of California’s most recent healthcare bill through a combination of applications and incentives. $3.3 billion1 of that goes directly to helping hospitals reform their infrastructure and modernize their technology systems.

The first step, of course, is the examination. What systems are holding you back? Which pieces of infrastructure will work for the next decade? How efficiently is your hospital using its available resources (like electricity, bandwidth, IT staff, and so on)? DiamondIT can help you give your system a “checkup” and identify the strong and weak points within your network so that you can implement an IT roadmap that will make the most of your funding allocation. It all starts with an initial assessment.

The Anywhere Doctor: How Virtualized Technology is Changing Patient Care

IT solutions medicalIt’s never been more important for healthcare providers to be good at what they do. Sure, that sounds obvious, but when you consider the complexities of health insurance and the myriad conditions to be diagnosed and treated, it is irrefutable that the healthcare field is changing.  Keeping up with these changes has also never been more difficult. These same challenges facing patients—navigating insurance, finding the right specialists to help them overcome an ailment or disease—are being faced by doctors in a similar direction. Staying up-to-date on the latest journals and information, making sure practice claims are processed correctly, protecting patient rights and privacy while also providing the best possible care is more than a full-time job for most physicians.

That’s why it is so important that doctors, nurses, physician’s assistants, and their staffs avoid being chained to a single place for their work.1 If patients require care around the clock or if an important record might need to be accessed at a moment’s notice, then being shackled to a desk during normal business hours is woefully inadequate. Thankfully, new virtualized technology and evolving compliance requirements mean that physicians can work from remote locations to provide the best possible patient care.2 Key among this technology are Voice over Internet Protocol (or VoIP for short) and Virtual Desktop Instances (or VDI).

Keeping a California Medical Service Provider in Good Health with Personalized IT Solutions

i-generalThe San Dimas Medical Group had established strong roots in their old location: 20 years’ worth of roots. In the course of business, however, transitions need to be made to modernize your building, your processes, or your technologies to keep up with the ever-changing needs of your clientele and make maximum use of the technology of our times. For the San Dimas Medical Group, this meant relocating to a new building and rolling out a new VoIP phone system and updating their IT. As a medical services provider, San Dimas needed an IT support team that could deliver a quick and smooth transition to their new location and ensure their ability to provide patients with ongoing care with minimal disruption. They turned to us for the coordination of their new IT rollout, and Peg Board, Director of Operations for San Dimas Medical Group, can speak to the efficiency and positive results of their decision to partner with DiamondIT.

Teaching an Old Doctor New Tricks: How A Virtual Desktop Solution Can Radically Improve Your Practice’s Efficiency

New techniques and tools make their way into the medical field all the time; new ways to treat patients, new medicines that can heal, new tools and procedures to enhance patient care. It takes a lot of effort and dedication to stay on top of all these medical advancements. With so many new things to learn and adopt within your field, incorporating new IT advancements seems like a minor concern. What you’ve got works, so why change it?

Using the Cloud to Maximize Privacy and Savings in Medical Organizations

i-Cloud-ServicesThere’s something about visiting our clients in the medical field that just buoys my spirits. It’s inspiring to see people working every day to improve patient health and to save lives. It’s an honor to be part of that mission. One particular client comes to mind. Based in Central California, they provide X-Ray, CT, and MRI services for patients when the doctor’s own practice doesn’t have an internal imaging department. We’ve recently helped them incorporate a shared cloud into their network. Because their cloud deployment offers more storage capacity and bandwidth through DiamondIT’s Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) than they could manage on their own, images taken in their office can be immediately digitized and shared with physicians who otherwise might be left waiting for a courier to deliver physical films. “The old way” of doing things has been upended by transformative technology. More and more, it feels like a lot of the medical sector is embracing this type of change.

A True Medical Emergency: Diagnosing the Anthem Security Breach

i-Network-SecurityIn late January of this year, insurance provider Anthem Health let customers know that the personal information of almost 80 million customers may have been exposed in a large-scale data breach. Anthem offered what has become an all too common refrain from companies–including Target and JP Morgan, who have experienced similar massive breaches: we are sorry, the attack was sophisticated, and we’ll pay for credit protection services to help protect your identity going forward. This is certainly the right thing to do for clients, and being proactive about communicating what happened and how you will protect clients going forward is just about the only thing left to do. That being said, an apology isn’t a sufficient remedy. The better course of action is to be more steadfast in the face of attacks and work harder to prevent them in the first place.

The total cost to both Anthem and its clients won’t be known for years. Aside from the financial impact, clients are left wondering if or when someone is going to take advantage of the data that was stolen. As for Anthem, the substantial costs also likely include a crisis of confidence around how safe and secure their network is. If the system was hacked once, then how can the team be confident it won’t happen again?