How Zero Trust Network Access can “help with HIPAA”
Regulatory compliance standards, such as HIPAA or PCI DSS, whether specified by industry or mandated by the government, affect all industries. For example, financial organizations in the U.S. are required to meet standards like SOX while manufacturing must adhere to ISO/IEC 27001. Healthcare organizations have to navigate an even more difficult landscape, ensuring not only compliance with HIPAA but also with PCI DSS for payment.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are also hard hit. With smaller IT staff to address an increasingly wide array of security, digital transformation, and compliance requirements, SMEs are often most at-risk for non-compliance. In the case of HIPAA, fines can be levied by a variety of institutions ranging from the federal government to state attorneys general and can reach up to $1.5M. These costs may compound significantly since the average healthcare cybersecurity breach is nearly $7M.
Fortunately, many compliance standards are fairly prescriptive in providing guidance to organizations. And businesses of all sizes – SMEs in particular – can implement ZTNA to address numerous requirements. Zero trust network access, or ZTNA, offers significant benefits over traditional perimeter-based security architectures like VPN with faster on-boarding, application-specific policy enforcement, and a simple, streamlined user experience that is consistent for employees, contractors, and third parties alike.
To comply with HIPAA, four major areas must be addressed:
- Access Control
Provisions must be employed that prevent unauthorized users from accessing personal health information (PHI).
- Integrity Control
Policies and procedures must be deployed that prevent unauthorized PHI access.
- Transmission Security
Messages and data must be encrypted to guard against unauthorized access.
- Audit Controls
Record and examine activity when accessing information systems that contain or use PHI.
VPNs have traditionally been used to meet some compliance requirements through their use of encryption and access restriction. However, as networks have evolved and threats have multiplied exponentially, VPNs require excessive configuration and management while granting wider network-level access to a range of resources.
Unlike VPNs, ZTNA architectures restrict access to specific applications through policy enforcement. This limits exposure to sensitive information like PHI only to authorized users who have successfully logged in via MFA. A beneficial “side effect” is that the attack surface is significantly reduced as well.
Zentry Trusted Access
Zentry Security developed Zentry Trusted Access, our ZTNA solution, specifically to meet the security and compliance needs of SMEs. Here’s how Zentry Trusted Access enables SMEs to address the four major HIPAA requirements mentioned earlier:
- Access Control: Zentry Trusted Access provides application-specific policies that restrict access to sensitive information only to authorized users. Dashboards give at-a-glance views of successful and unsuccessful login attempts, and all application access is logged.
- Integrity Control: Zentry features multi-factor authentication that ensures only authorized users obtain access to your network.
- Transmission Security: Zentry Trusted Access encrypts all sessions end-to-end with TLS, ensuring that all sensitive information is secure while in transit.
- Audit Controls: Zentry maintains logs of all application and resource access, both successful and unsuccessful. Organizations should review these logs periodically to maintain compliance.
Zentry Trusted Access goes a few steps further with features like single sign-on (SSO) that streamlines access and eliminates repetitive logins while reducing the possibility of stolen credentials. Best of all, Zentry offers a simple, consistent user experience for all users because it’s browser-based – all you need is an HTML5 browser and you’re set: there’s no complex configuration, management, or training for end-users. And the experience is the same for employees, contractors, and third parties; each only gets access to the resources they’re entitled to, whether on-premises or in the cloud.
Considering how steep HIPAA fines can be, employing a ZTNA solution can literally be a business lifesaver, especially for smaller organizations. If your SME needs to comply with HIPAA and other compliance mandates, Zentry would love to help you attain security nirvana knowing you’ve met all the requirements for compliance, and with a solution that’s easy on your users and your budget.