For practices that utilize Electronic Health Records (EHRs), having a disaster recovery plan is critical. The healthcare industry isn’t responsible for just their data, but the data of every patient who walks through their doors. You cannot afford to lose time when those patients need you to provide them with quick treatments, diagnoses, and updates. According to World Backup Day, 30% of people have never backed up their data, despite 1 in 10 computers being infected with viruses each month. With the healthcare IT solution of data backup, you are one step ahead of cyber threats.
Backing up your data is the act of creating a copy of important information, storing it in a secure location, and recognizing it as a restoration method should something go wrong. For instance, you may face ransomware attacks or system failures that could make your patients lose confidence in you. To ensure operations continue efficiently, backups save a variety of information, including both files and live data. Let’s get right into how the healthcare IT solution of data backups can fortify the trust that patients have in your practice as you hold their private information.
Despite having the option to run auto-updates, every organization needs to designate an employee, perhaps from outside IT support, to be responsible for backups. They should be the ones checking and testing the systems to guarantee the data is actually backed up. Your server backup solutions should include support for diverse file types, data compression, and the ability to scale according to your needs. When you are choosing a data backup solution, you must consider the recovery time objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPO). RTO is the time it takes for your data to restore, while RPO is the time it takes between backups. The more streamlined your solution, the less data you will lose.
When searching for a data backup solution, consider the cost, ease of setup, and amount of storage space you need. Here are four common storage options.
The basic rule of backing up your data used to be the 3-2-1 base rule. This consisted of three copies of data on two different media, with one of those copies being stored offsite. 3-2-1 is capable of addressing nearly any failure scenario, and it doesn’t require any specific technology to implement. Today, with the 3-2-1-1-0 backup rule, the same principles apply, but with the addition of specifying that one copy should be offline or immutable, and there should be zero errors with recovery verification. This is considered a best practice by both security experts and government authorities.
The 3-2-1-1-0 rule effectively protects your business from cyberattacks by mitigating attempts before they can take full effect. By using the air gap technique in your data backup, a copy of your sensitive information is offline. With air gapping, computer systems and networks are not connected to other devices and networks. Because your data is disconnected from the public internet, hackers will not be able to access your data. As a strong healthcare IT solution, air gapping significantly reduces the loss of data and risk of malware, as well as improves employee wellbeing and productivity.
You need to back your data up often. That is to say, daily or even multiple times a day. Prescribing backups at regular intervals is an easy feat with automation processes. Automatic backup software methodically copies your EHR data from servers and devices to your cloud infrastructure or off-site data center. This means that you won’t have to rely on a staff member to run the backup. By strategically determining what times you will run your tests, you prevent interference with your practice’s activities. As a healthcare practice, you need to back up EHR files, administrative files, and financial information, as well as any operating systems and computer programs in use.
If you have a long time span between your data backups, you are capable of losing more data. This is a major concern of Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO). The purpose of RPO is to help inform the development of a backup strategy. It is the amount of data that a business can afford to lose before they experience critical harm. Alternately, RTO refers to the amount of time that a system can be down without causing that critical harm. Its focus is on system restoration, which is a much more manual process. Healthcare organizations need to understand that, with the right solution, a routine backup procedure can take just five minutes. With the wrong solution, it could take up to several hours.
Before your practice begins purchasing solutions, determine safeguards and a recovery plan, in case something goes wrong in the future. With the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), you are expected to protect the privacy of your patients and secure their Protected Health Information (PHI). A great addition to your strategy is network-level geofencing. This denies access to infrastructure based on the requesting IP address, in order to protect against unauthorized users. You can provide physical safety by enforcing strict workstation security policies and access controls.
Health communication and health IT go hand-in-hand to improve the public health information infrastructure and the quality of healthcare. If you decide to work with an IT service provider to develop your healthcare IT solutions, make sure to ask what their data recovery plans are based on. Your plan needs to have the reactionary capability to switch to your recovery solution as quickly as possible. As healthcare practices adopt more digital tools, it has become increasingly important to develop a plan with cloud scalability. Having a HIPAA-compliant cloud backup with robust monitoring tools is a necessity for all organizations. The backup environment must be periodically expanded to manage your high volumes of data.
Healthcare is a favorite target of hackers because they deal with so much private information, so data security must be prioritized. The best healthcare IT solutions for data backups incorporate continuously backing up throughout the day, opting for increased storage, and implementing an instant recovery plan for the worst case scenario. You cannot be careless about data backups. Give us a call to talk about how Texas Systems Group can serve your healthcare practice with the right IT infrastructure and freestanding emergency center support.