Backup and disaster recovery strategies for healthcare

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The biggest data theft of 2023 was the MOVEit cyberattack. That data breach affected more than 2,000 organizations and over 62 million people worldwide, and today, the numbers continue to rise.

The breach even affected thousands of North Carolina patients of several healthcare organizations. NC’s biggest hospital system, which includes Atrium, Duke, ECU, and UNC, uses Nuance Communication, a healthcare software. Unfortunately, Nuance used MOVEit’s services, making it vulnerable to the cyberattack. So if you went to a North Carolina hospital before May 2023, chances are some of your personal information has been exposed.

The MOVEit breach highlights the importance of having a backup and disaster recovery (BDR) strategy for your healthcare company.

What is BDR and why is it crucial for your healthcare business?

Backup and data recovery are crucial processes for safeguarding your business against data loss: 

  • Backup is the process of duplicating your data and storing them in separate systems such as external drives, tape drives, or cloud storage. Regular and consistent backups minimize data loss between backup intervals. Off-site storage in remote facilities provides additional protection against primary data loss and natural disasters.
  • Data recovery is the retrieval of lost or damaged data from backup sources. Restoring data after a natural disaster, system failure, or security incident ensures minimal downtime and maintains the integrity of your digital information.

While BDR is essential for all businesses, it’s especially crucial for those in healthcare because they handle sensitive electronic protected health information (ePHI). Healthcare entities dealing with ePHI are required to adhere to the regulations outlined in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). These regulations specifically mandate the safeguarding and recovery of ePHI to ensure compliance and data integrity.

Best BDR strategies for your healthcare business

Safeguarding healthcare data requires a comprehensive BDR plan integrating various strategies to back up your data securely and to facilitate easy retrieval of data should there be a data loss event. 

Here are nine strategies you should implement for successful BDR:

1. Identify and prioritize

Evaluate the importance of your data to prioritize critical information across your healthcare organization.

2. Schedule regular and automated backups

Set up a consistent backup schedule, preferably automated, to capture critical data regularly and reduce the risk of human error.

3. Have multiple backup locations

Store backup copies in three different locations — on premises, off site, and in the cloud — to safeguard against primary data loss or natural disasters.

4. Install redundant systems and failover mechanisms

Implement backup hardware and networks in case of a system failure. This will enable you to keep your business operational and your data intact.   

5. Encrypt backups

Safeguard sensitive patient information by encrypting backups. Doing so not only protects patient data, but also helps your organization meet regulatory requirements such as HIPAA.

6. Choose flexible recovery options

Opt for backup solutions offering flexible recovery options, such as point-in-time or granular recovery, for swift data restoration in disaster situations.

7. Conduct regular testing and verification

Regularly test backup systems to ensure their effectiveness. This involves validating backup integrity, verifying data accessibility, and checking for issues with current backup procedures.

8. Conduct a business impact analysis (BIA)

Performing a thorough BIA helps pinpoint critical systems that must be recovered first. By knowing the potential impact of a system outage, you can allocate resources effectively and formulate suitable recovery strategies.

9. Train your staff

Ensure your staff members are well trained in backup and recovery procedures to guarantee quick response times in case of a disaster.

Need help with technology?

We understand that healthcare is already complicated; what more if you add managing technology to your list of responsibilities? This is where our IT experts at Refresh Technologies come in. We know the IT needs of healthcare organizations, so you can leave the technology to us and stick to what you’re great at — delivering top-notch healthcare services in Charlotte, NC. 

Want to team up with us? Get in touch today!