HIPAA Compliance and SIEM: Meeting Standards in 2020

Cybersecurity risks must be managed seriously in 2020, and especially so for organizations that process sensitive patient data, as defined by HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Here are the three most important questions you should be asking yourself about your organization’s HIPAA compliance and early warning systems, followed by the three answers you need to know to keep your organization ready and compliant.

What is HIPAA?

HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

What are the HIPPA rules?

  1. Privacy Rule defines what data and from who is subject to protection under the Act. All “individually identifiable health information” must be secured, and the appropriate agency, the Office for Civil Rights, notified of any breach or incident and the related violations.
  2. Security Rule designates mandatory safeguards in three categories; Administrative, the workplace security ethic; Physical, the control of tangible access to secure areas; and Technical, where data is secured digitally.

What kind of HIPAA practices can help a CISO in a technical sense?

At the bare minimum, HIPAA requires audit logging policies to be in place with six-year retention as a technical reference for users, apps, and systems. This means that all actions relating to policies and documents about the act must be logged, and those logs stored for at least six years from their last modification or reference date. Manually checking logging events for all your systems and applications is inefficient, and it cannot give you the real-time holistic risk analysis that SIEM does. Even if you opt to hand-craft a couple of hundred rules for classifying events, you’ll see that your team extends and stay quickly overwhelmed by sorting through many log events as false positives.

How can a SIEM help companies to comply with HIPPA compliance?

A SIEM makes sure that all of the statistics you need the most, such as specifics to comply with different regulations, are up-to-date and easily accessible. Where SIEMs shine, however, is their 24/7, behind-the-scenes analysis of the hundreds of thousands of logs of every event. Smart, next-generation SIEM software, such as UTMStack‘s Enterprise and Cloud-based solutions, aggregate, raw logs to find organization and role-based average correlations between usage in the Administrative, Physical, and Technical realms set forth by HIPAA’s Privacy Act. These usage patterns and events, and their outliers, are then run through our over 100,000 industry-tested and proven formulas to define an unusual and potentially unauthorized activity, as opposed to simple one-step rules with high false-positive and false-negative rates, and trigger a respective response based on the severity of the situation.

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