Healthcare Business Continuity Solutions Provided By Alvarez Technology Group
The healthcare industry operates at a high pace around the clock. From emergency rooms to long term care, healthcare professionals need to be able to move as quickly as possible in administering care – they can’t afford delays.
That’s why IT business continuity is such a priority for healthcare organizations. When IT systems go down – whether as a result of cybercriminal efforts or a natural disaster – it means healthcare professionals can’t access patient data, which makes it difficult, or impossible, to do their jobs.
Case in point – earlier this year, the Olean Medical Group staff went without access to their systems and data for over 40,000 patients until they paid the hackers. During the extended downtime, they had to resort to tracking patient data on outdated chard copy charts.
The question is – have you taken the necessary steps to protect your practice against downtime? Do you know what you should be doing to develop reliable business continuity?
6 Tips For Promoting Healthcare Business Continuity
Protect Your Network
Often the least thought of aspect of an IT infrastructure, the network is just as vital as any other part – why? Because it’s everything. Both literally and otherwise, the network ties everything together, and by definition, includes all aspects of the environment.
It doesn’t matter how new and expensive your desktop computers are if they’re not connected to anything. Especially given the prevalence of cloud computing in today’s world.
Whereas at one point, locally-stored data on desktop computers that weren’t connected to a network were “good enough”, these days it’s more likely than not that you’re storing data in the cloud. That means a functional network is a must.
In the same way, it doesn’t matter how fancy and well maintained your servers are. Whether you manage an optimized onsite server farm or pay a huge monthly fee for access to server space in a Tier-3 data center, that will all amount to nothing if your network isn’t managed properly.
Evaluate Your Endpoints
If you use a data center, what’s their pedigree? What certifications and SLA guarantees can they offer? Are there testimonies, recommendations, or other insight into their uptime and quality of connection?
On the other side, be sure to think about personal device use and remote access; failure to do so opens you up to unnecessary risks. Simply by enacting a standard, detailed, and understandable acceptable use policy will ensure that no avoidable risks will be taken by your employees when it comes to the network.
Implement Security Standards
Security policies are a vital part of network management because they allow you to standardize the way employees handle their access to healthcare data.
By deploying a range of monitoring systems and best practices, you can eliminate variables that would otherwise degrade network integrity. Be sure to consider email monitoring, password policies, personal web use standards, compliance validation, access control, and identity management.
Monitor For Threats
Depending on variables like network complexity, the availability of network management personnel, and others, it can be easy to lose track of activity on a given network.
That’s why it’s so important to implement a system or solution that will raise the alarm when something out of the ordinary occurs. Whether this is an automated monitoring solution or a team of IT technicians dedicated to the task, it’s a vital part of network management.
Harness The Cloud
If you’re not already using a cloud backup service, then you’re behind the times.
According to Acronis’ 2019 World Backup Day Survey, 48.3% of surveyed businesses already use a cloud-based backup exclusively, and an additional 26.8% use a combination of cloud and onsite backup.
Power outages, cyber attacks, hardware issues, and human error are all common occurrences – and when they stop you from getting work done, there are major effects; lost wages, lowered efficiency, unhappy clients, and in some cases, legal issues.
A cloud backup solution addresses each and everyone one of these possibilities. With backups of your data and applications in the cloud, you always have secure and easy access to everything you need to continue working and serving clients.
What’s more, cloud storage is a perfect way to reduce your IT costs. Data can be backed up directly to the cloud without the risk of data loss, which eliminates the costs and resources associated with on-premise data storage and protection solutions.
Enlist Experts For Your Team
The last step is the most simple, but can still be overlooked by healthcare professionals. You need to know when to ask for help.
Whether it’s in implementing one of the above steps, or anything else IT-related that’s too much for your internal team to handle in addition to their daily tasks, then you need to find an IT partner that can help you out.
Ideally, you’ll find an IT company that understands the field of work your organization operates in. General IT companies that offer the same standard tech tools are a dime a dozen – make sure to find one that knows what your pain points are, how to support your line of business applications, and understands where your industry is headed.
Furthermore, given that they’ll be helping you to implement new IT solutions and practices, you’ll want to work with an IT company that understands compliance. As a healthcare organization, you’re subject to HIPAA, your compliance with which depends on your IT. Make sure that the company responsible for managing your IT has knowledge of and experience with HIPAA compliance.
Business continuity is all about prevention – no matter what you do, you can’t start focusing on business continuity after your systems have gone down. At that point, it’s too late. Take the necessary steps now to protect yourself down the road.
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