Why Do FECs Need Help from MSP Services to Protect ePHI?

HIPAA was put in place to set the safeguarding policies for Protected Health Information (PHI). The electronic copy of these records is known as ePHI. It includes our health status and treatments, as well as our billing matters, which include our contact information and identifying numbers. Essentially, the healthcare industry holds a wealth of valuable private data. This is precisely why it is a prime target for cybercriminals.

Freestanding emergency centers (FECs) need a managed service provider (MSP) that offers layered security solutions to combat this. That way, you can be prepared for when an attempted hack occurs, rather than just hoping it doesn’t. Check out these five ways that MSP services can take care of your IT problems before they become problems.

Identify System Vulnerabilities

When you have a flaw in your system or network, it can be exploited by cyber attackers. They can steal and distribute or destroy your data. MSP services mitigate the chance of this happening by constantly monitoring and managing those systems and networks. For any type of organization, their work includes asset inventory management and vulnerability scans. But, when it comes to FECs, they also invest time in HIPAA assessments and policy management. 

Your FEC is required to perform security risk analyses. These must consist of thorough and accurate reports of the potential vulnerabilities that your facility faces. This way, you see what needs to be done in order to mitigate the risks involving the confidentiality and integrity of your patients. Texas Systems Group partners with Cyber Trust Alliance to offer HIPAA solutions to our clients. Our MSP services include ongoing compliance support as we discover risks and guide your FEC through the process of creating a risk remediation plan.

Protect Your Infrastructure

Until you partner with MSP services, there is no guarantee that your IT infrastructure will be out of harm’s way. And this is a major problem considering how much you depend on technology for providing diagnoses and communicating. For that matter, your FEC relies heavily on the ability to provide care at all hours of the day. So, this would not be in your best interest. Having strategic guidance and planning sessions with security policy experts will keep your staff doing their jobs in a safe way. Examples of what MSP services recommend doing to protect your IT infrastructure include:

  • Hard drive encryption
  • Backups (Office 365, offsite server backups, data backups)
  • Identity and access management
  • Password policies and management
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Secure remote access
  • Intrusion detection and prevention
  • Advanced malware protection
  • Wireless network security
  • Automated software patching and updates

Detect Security Events

Because MSP services actively monitor your systems, they will be able to note any security events. These are changes in a network’s daily operations that can affect your FEC’s risk levels. They can happen daily, meaning the odds are that members of your staff will run into them often. Risk levels are classified as low, moderate, or high. The labels correspond to how confidential the data is that is being stored in your systems. They aren’t considered security incidents until consequences actually occur from the event itself. For instance, the event would be a phishing email being sent, while the incident would be a data breach.

Should a data breach happen, your IT service provider may find that ePHI has been exposed. You want your patients to feel comfortable with you. But that can’t happen if their ePHI isn’t actually protected. No matter the size of a facility, a healthcare provider must be able to implement multiple safeguards for that information. This can be accomplished with the help of the streamlined solutions laid out by your provider.

Respond to Threats

Endpoint isolation is critical to taking care of any threat. It is a cybersecurity technique that segregates devices from the rest of the network so that the threat won’t spread. Think of it like when you get sick and stay home from work. In which case, the immune systems of your colleagues won’t be compromised. From there, MSP services will be able to not only identify the threat, but also terminate it and clean up the mess it has caused. This is similar to when you go to the doctor and receive a prescription for the appropriate medication to cure your illness.

Companies that offer MSP services also participate in DNS monitoring. Essentially, this ensures the security of browser communication by preventing targeted attacks. DNS is popular among hackers. Two of their most common ways to capture ePHI include DNS poisoning and DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks. Back in 2018, Boston Children’s Hospital endured a DDoS attack that disrupted them for approximately two weeks. It’s something your FEC must take seriously.

Recover From an Incident

Make sure that your FEC has developed an incident response plan. Outline what the roles and responsibilities are for everyone involved. Being able to properly communicate these procedures from the beginning is necessary for their execution later on. Your MSP services team will help to design this, keeping in mind best practices for identifying and eliminating external threats. Should you end up getting breached, they will know how to expertly recover from it. This plan can be improved over time, in accordance with expanding hacking abilities and your needs.

Data theft has the potential to result in increased patient fatalities. Those people are depending on you. So, you need to have an IT service provider that you can trust to get everything back online quickly. Your data backups, both for server and email data, have to be successful and recoverable. Providers will take care to form a routine backup procedure to protect against loss.

Security Measures for Staff

Don’t leave any stone unturned when it comes to security. That includes making sure that your own team is well-trained. If they don’t know how to properly handle your FEC’s IT, it can result in trouble down the road. After all, it isn’t just your MSP services team that will be using the technology. Cybersecurity problems can arise from those closest to you making a mistake. Your provider will assist you in the security awareness training process by sharing their skills and knowledge.

Something to note is that annual training courses are the most common way to go about this process. However, it has been found that participants are less likely to remember the information at that interval. IT professionals recommend, instead, refreshing them on cybersecurity efforts every four to six months. The less training your FEC invests in, the more likely your staff is to be exploited.


Texas Systems Group has been providing MSP services since 2002. Today, our team delivers seamless IT support for FECs across eight states. We can help build your facility from the ground up, or we can integrate our expert IT solutions into your existing infrastructure. Send us a message to get started with a support team that will operate with professionalism and integrity at every level.


The Benefits of Patch Management IT Services for Startups’ Servers and Workstations

New patches are released every day. Otherwise known as software and operating system updates, patches are an integral part of your cybersecurity strategy. This is on account of cyber attackers being all too aware of when those patches are released. If you don’t take care of things quickly, they will be able to identify the vulnerability that exists and target it. It could mean a major data breach for your startup.

In a report by ServiceNow, it was found that 60% of victims claimed their lack of patching was the reason why they were breached. To get around this, businesses invest in managed IT service providers who perform patch management. The provider constantly monitors for security bugs and applies the updates accordingly so that you don’t have to. Let’s consider how you can succeed with IT services for startups.

Ensures that Your Devices Remain Secure

Harmful malware attacks take advantage of software vulnerabilities. Hackers lie in wait for someone to not do what they are supposed to do. This could come in the form of a social engineering attack, such as a phishing email that an employee accidentally clicked on. But it can also just be that they turned a blind eye to the update that was more crucial than they expected. Think about the times when you have noticed that your smartphone requested a software update. Did you just let it sit in your settings for a few days? Doing this, across any of your devices, can mean that you are missing out on an added layer of protection. This is why professionals who perform IT services for startups recommend patching any security flaws as soon as possible.

Minimizes Downtime to Keep You On Track

Unsatisfied clients shouldn’t be at the top of your list of accomplishments. They are going to expect high-performing systems so that they can have confidence in your brand. As frustrating as it will be for your team to experience downtime, it will be just as upsetting for them. This will be especially true if, during that downtime, hackers get to the data you are storing. Note that having lots of system downtime is a result of poor monitoring. IT services for startups will take this on in a proactive approach by keeping an eye on your tech 24/7. Doing this allows them to be aware of exactly when new vulnerabilities arise. Considering they follow best IT practices with software deployments, they will be responsible for eliminating points of failure and improving the health of your systems.

Allows You to Reach Compliance Standards

Every compliance framework is different. The most common ones consist of SOC 1, SOC 2, ISO 27001, PCI DSS, and HIPAA. Unfortunately, they can be quite complicated to understand. For those that don’t have a background in compliance, IT services for startups can certainly make a difference. These frameworks provide guidelines for businesses to incorporate into their IT efforts, specifically in regard to cybersecurity. Have a discussion with your provider about which framework—or frameworks—will be the best for your startup. Given that they will have worked with similar businesses in the past, they know what appropriately ties in with the services you provide. From there, their professional guidance will carry over into patch management and their other tasks related to your systems.

Best Practices for Patch Management

In order to have a mature security framework, startups need to have a solid patch management process. This will get you the most out of your software. Areas that are going to need patching consist of applications, operating systems, and embedded systems. With continued product innovation, your team will experience better features and functionality that will lead to your success. To keep your tech and data secure, IT services for startups will take care of three things.

Automation for Timely Updates

Some software isn’t compatible with automation, and not every application is created the same. However, for operating systems that have been thoroughly vetted, it can be a great option for patch management. Scheduling timely patch deployments enhances endpoint security. It decreases the amount of time between the release of the patch and its application, earning time back for the person who would have otherwise been manually having to do it for every device. Automation has the ability to integrate with your network, infrastructure, and configurations. IT services for startups take a holistic approach to automation in order to reduce errors and increase productivity.

Vulnerability Management

As we know, your technological weaknesses are what allow hackers to compromise your startup. Vulnerability management is ongoing and proactive. It involves identifying the vulnerabilities to your IT infrastructure, as well as evaluating and treating them. Scans will be performed both internally and externally to ensure there are no holes in your defenses. With threats constantly changing, your startup cannot afford to neglect to scan for possible gaps in your systems. It only takes a single instant for an exploit to be taken advantage of. So, if your IT service provider is only scanning on a weekly, or even monthly, basis, they aren’t doing what they need to be doing.

IT Disaster Recovery Plan

Make sure that your startup has designed a policy to execute the recovery of your data, should you end up getting breached. Everyone on your team needs to be aware of what actions to take. IT services for startups should run a risk assessment and business impact analysis. From there, they can help you come up with a disaster recovery plan that details your IT inventory, backup and restoration procedures, and personnel. Keep in mind, though, that it doesn’t matter whether an incident was an accident or intentional. Data loss can seriously affect how clients perceive you. They may never want to do business with you again because they won’t feel that their sensitive information is safe in your hands.


Come have a chat with a member of the team at TXSG. We provide expert insight at all hours of the day and IT services for startups that can accommodate your growth. Don’t just wait for something to go wrong with your tech. Implement our cost-effective solutions into your business strategy, and watch as we take care of issues before they even become issues.