When governing information, it works well to identify and bundle rules (for legal compliance, risk, and value), identify and bundle information (by content and context), and then attach the rule bundles to the information bundles. Classification is a great means to that end, by both framing the questions and supplying the answers. With a classification scheme, we have an upstream “if-then” (if it’s this kind of information, then it has this classification), followed by a downstream “if-then” (if it’s information with this classification, then we treat it this way). A classification scheme is simply a logical paradigm, and frankly, the simpler, the better. For day-to-day efficiency, once the rules and classifications are set, we automate as much and as broadly as possible, thereby avoiding laborious individual decisions that reinvent the wheel.
Continue Reading Adding some class to Information Governance (Part 1)

The Anthem breach sent alarm waves through the health care industry and the employer health plan community. With 78.8 million affected individuals for Anthem and 11 million for the companion breach of Premera Blue Cross, the combined size ranks among the largest data breaches in history.

The Anthem and Premera breaches signal a sea change in the threat environment for health plans, a new reality that requires a fresh look at data security. Prudent employers with group health plans should take that fresh look now, by strengthening the data security provisions in their business associate agreements (BAAs) with third-party plan administrators, and also by updating their HIPAA-required security risk assessments.
Continue Reading Data Security for Employer Health Plans Post-Anthem

Because the healthcare community relies upon encryption to safeguard e-Protected Health Information (ePHI), vulnerability to the underlying security of any encryption code is potentially devastating.

The Heartbleed computer bug is gaining substantial media coverage recently, and for good reason. Organizations, especially those in healthcare, should pay special attention to risks from the bug. Heartbleed is not a computer virus, but is actually a software defect. The defect went unnoticed for a long period of time, and was unfortunately adopted by many websites.

Discovered by Neel Mehta of Google Security, the Heartbleed bug is based on a fault in functionality in the widely used OpenSSL library. This library is used by security vendors’ products to secure web browsing and even mobile banking applications. For example, if you go to a site like Amazon, you may notice a little lock in the browser section of the bar with the letters “https”– that is a sign that the website uses, and is a part of, the OpenSSL library. When the Heartbleed bug is exploited, the attacker can retrieve memory, up to 64KB from the remote system.  Such information may contain usernames, passwords, keys or other useful information that enables bigger attacks.
Continue Reading Healthcare organizations can take steps to mitigate Heartbleed impact