Ten examples of Insufficient Backup and Disaster Recovery plan causing Data breach of ePHI
Healthcare businesses face severe risks from inadequate disaster recovery and backup policies, which could result in the hacking of information involving electronic PHI (ePHI). Data backup and disaster recovery methods must be done correctly to ensure the validity, availability, and confidentiality of ePHI in line with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA) Act. If appropriate data backup and disaster recovery protocols are not put in place, the pillaging, falsification, or unlawful use of personal patient information could end up resulting in financial penalties, legal woes, and/or loss of reputation. Healthcare firms can reduce the risk of data breaches and HIPAA violations by implementing a strong backup and disaster recovery plan that guarantees speedy recovery from unanticipated events like computer hardware malfunctions, natural disasters like hurricanes, cyberattacks, and employee mistakes.
Here are ten examples of how insufficient backup and disaster recovery plans can cause data breaches of ePHI and result in HIPAA compliance violations:
- Data loss due to hardware failure: Inadequate backup procedures can lead to the permanent loss of ePHI stored on hardware that experiences unexpected failure.
- Ransomware attacks: Insufficient disaster recovery plans can leave organizations vulnerable to ransomware attacks that encrypt ePHI and render it inaccessible.
- Natural disasters: Organizations without proper backup and recovery plans may suffer significant ePHI loss in the event of natural disasters, such as floods, fires, or earthquakes.
- Data corruption: Insufficient backup processes can result in the loss or corruption of ePHI during routine maintenance, software updates, or system migrations.
- Inability to restore ePHI: Organizations without comprehensive disaster recovery plans may be unable to restore ePHI following a data breach or system failure.
- Unauthorized access during recovery: Inadequate security measures during backup and recovery processes can expose ePHI to unauthorized access or tampering.
- Inadequate testing of backup and recovery plans: Failure to regularly test and update backup and disaster recovery plans can leave organizations unprepared to respond effectively to data breaches or system failures.
- Human error: Insufficient backup and recovery plans can increase the likelihood of data breaches resulting from human error, such as accidental deletion or alteration of ePHI.
- Prolonged system downtime: Organizations without effective disaster recovery plans may experience extended system downtime following a data breach, increasing the risk of unauthorized access to or disclosure of ePHI.
- Failure to meet regulatory requirements: Insufficient backup and disaster recovery plans can result in non-compliance with HIPAA and other regulatory requirements, exposing organizations to potential fines and penalties.
Real-world examples of HIPAA compliance violations due to insufficient backup and recovery plans.
For healthcare medical facilities, improper data backup and disaster recovery procedures can have serious outcomes, including the loss of patients’ confidential information, also known as electronically protected health information (ePHI). To comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), requirements for ePHI’s secrecy, reliability, and availability—adequate backup and recovery procedures—are necessary. Theft of data, financial implications like penalties or ransom, legal responsibilities, and reputational harm can result from failing to adopt reliable backup and disaster recovery procedures. To reduce the likelihood of data theft and HIPAA violations, healthcare companies must be equipped to quickly recover from unanticipated occurrences like hardware failures, natural catastrophes, cyberattacks, or human error.
Here are some real-world examples of USA medical offices that experienced data loss of ePHI due to insufficient data backup and recovery plans:
- Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center (2016): This Los Angeles-based hospital fell victim to a ransomware attack that encrypted its medical records and demanded a ransom for their release. To reclaim access to its patients’ data, the hospital had to pay approximately $17,000 in Bitcoin. The incident showed how crucial it is to have a reliable backup and recovery strategy in place to lessen the effects of such attacks.
- Erie County Medical Center (2017): The medical healthcare facility in New York experienced operational disruption and a protracted system outage that lasted several weeks due to a ransomware attack. The lack of an adequate disaster recovery plan forced the medical center to rebuild its systems from scratch, which cost an estimated $10 million.
- Allscripts (2018): The electronic health record (EHR) provider suffered a ransomware attack that affected multiple applications, including its EHR and e-prescribing systems. The attack disrupted services for approximately 1,500 clients, highlighting the need for healthcare organizations to have effective backup and recovery measures implemented.
- Cass Regional Medical Center (2018): A ransomware attack on this Missouri-based hospital encrypted its EHR system, forcing the facility to revert to paper records for several days. The incident underscored the importance of having a comprehensive backup and recovery plan to restore critical data and maintain operations during a cyberattack.
- Wood Ranch Medical (2019): A ransomware attack on the California-based medical practice encrypted its patient records, making them irretrievable. Due to insufficient backup and recovery measures, the practice was forced to close its doors permanently, as it was unable to recover the lost data.
To learn in detail about Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), follow this link.