Case Study

Is Penetration Testing Required for HIPAA Compliance?

One of the main standards of HIPAA compliance is for companies to conduct frequent nontechnical and technical evaluations of their business. From the technical side of the requirement, businesses have to be able to show their systems are secure enough to be HIPAA compliant. The reality is many businesses don’t do frequent enough testing, or their testing procedures aren’t done properly. This is why complete managed security service providers are helpful to provide the proper level of penetration or vulnerability testing to ensure networks are secure and businesses remain HIPAA compliant.

Evaluation is Required

HIPAA’s standard requirement is evaluation. This is just a simple term meaning businesses have to conduct some sort of legitimate testing to ensure their systems and networks are secure. Otherwise, how would you know how safe they are?

Businesses today utilize IT management solutions to aid in their evaluation processes. These companies will conduct either vulnerability testing, penetration testing or both. These types of tests may seem similar, but they are actually very different in their functions.

Difference Between Penetration Testing and Vulnerability Testing

A penetration test will simulate an actual cyber attack on the organization. It looks at the different methods a hacker could use and what information they would have access to as a result of the attack. A vulnerability test isn’t as detailed, so it’s just a test to see if there are any obvious cracks in the IT security.

Vulnerability testing is effective, but not nearly as effective as penetration testing. In order to remain HIPAA compliant, companies should Perform Penetration testing as their standard IT security services practice. This method of testing will provide more detailed information as to what holes need to be patched up in IT systems and networks.

Who Should Perform Penetration Testing?

One big misunderstanding about penetration testing for HIPAA compliance reasons is who should conduct the testing. It would be easy for the in-house IT department to run the tests, but it also wouldn’t make a lot of sense. The problem is businesses can’t accurately define their security risks if an in-house person responsible for protecting the information conducts and reports the tests themselves. Instead, using complete Managed Security Service Provider is the most effective way to conduct penetration testing and get the most accurate and unbiased results.

Maintaining HIPAA compliance is difficult, but having a Managed Security Service Provider conduct penetration testing can be a big relief. Be sure to contact us with any questions about penetration testing and how we can help you.

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