Mobile Device Safety

Mobile Device Safety

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Research shows that 81 percent of physicians are using smartphones or tablet devices.  With devices getting smaller in size and much more important in information, the chances to lose or have a device stolen grow larger every day. One important aspect of mobile devices being used in a hospital setting is encryption.  The ONC recently found that mobile phones and devices are severely under protected.  Most mobile devices do not even meet 40 percent of the security requirements, which includes encrypted information.  The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, also known as HIPPAA, has provided security guidance around remote use and encryption of data at rest.

There are several different software companies that work specifically with protecting applications and data on multiple devices and platforms.  One company, for example is Filewave.  Filewave helps in many ways such as, allowing you to take granular control of your software and manage all software deployments on MAC, Windows, Linux and iOS platforms.   Software companies, like Filewave, will help protect devices that are being used in all types of settings and environments.

There are also several other key aspects to fighting mobile device threats…

  • USB Locks – USB locks can be put onto a computer, laptop or any other device that may contain sensitive information and can prevent unauthorized data transfers, uploads or downloads, through USB ports.
  • Brick the device if it becomes lost or stolen – Bricking of a device takes away the problem with loss of data.  It will lock down the entire device and make it unusable rather than wiping the entire device of the encrypted data.
  • Encrypt the device –  Encryption is the process of transforming information to make it unreadable to anyone who does not possess the special  knowledge needed to decrypt the code.  All mobile devices should be encrypted when being used remotely and have sensitive information on them. Experts say encryption is the best way to protect sensitive data on mobile devices.
  • Geolocation tracking software or services –This is a software that is used to find the geolocation of a device by identifying the IP address and providing an exact location of where the device is located.  Rick Kam stated that “The majority of healthcare organizations currently lack sufficient resources to prevent or detect unauthorized patient data access, loss or theft, and lost or stolen computing or data services are the number one reason for healthcare data breach incidents.”
  • Educate the employees – making everyone aware of how important safeguarding their mobile device is and providing everyone the knowledge of what risky behaviors are and how to prevent them.

All devices that are used in healthcare settings and have private patient and company information are at risk for mobile device security threats.  Going through a company, such as Filewave to be sure to lock down the information and have complete control and access to all devices and all applications is an important aspect to not put both patients and the physician office at risk.

~ Ashley West