The complex becomes simplified by the Federal Trade Commission in a recent Consumer Information post. We will summarize it here, but it is worth a look. First, the most feared situation is covered: how to recover if your email is hacked. Second, the FTC goes over three areas of personal online security with their extensive resources:
- Online Security
- Tips for Educators and Parents
- Videos and Games
The FTC's recommendations for online security are especially interestng for healthcare providers, as our personal and professional realms can sometimes mix in ways that we don't anticipate. The FTC suggests that you:
- Use security software that updates automatically.
- Remember that Personal information is more valuable than cash.
- Ignore phone calls that scare you by saying you have a virus or need technical repair.
- Make sure that a website is secure before you transmit any financial information. Look at the “S”; for example with iClickCare the address looks like this - https://iclickcare.com/ … Do you see the “S” at the end of “http” and before the “:” ?
- If you have a question about a company, then search for the company name and follow that with one of these words such as “review”, “complaint”, “scam”. Then look for contact information that seems credible and assess the risk.
And of course, always be backing up your files.
One important last note: let’s talk about your camera or smart phone. Back up those as well, but also realize that you may have information there that you may wish not to share. A hacker, kids' pictures, and kidnappers seem like bad elements in a disastrous recipe. Address books and notes are also sources of valuable information which could be abused.
What about clinical pictures? iClickCare separates them from your regular camera roll and they are protected inside the app. Beware that downloading patients photos to your desktop is also a HIPAA compliance risk unless you meet the extensive physical guidelines in the law such as a locked room, entry logs, separate servers, encrypted databases and the like.
But as we often say - take care of yourself. At first, the idea of personal IT security seems too hard. But some of these simple rules make it seem manageable enough to actually do.
If you're interested in taking secure photos in your medical practice, we put together a guide here: