Cybersecurity and healthcare data protection concept.

There’s no doubt that technology has created many opportunities for Brokers to save time, streamline processes and increase revenue. Despite these many benefits, though, technology like small Group insurance software can also create some major security concerns.

From major Carriers to independent Brokers, no one in the health insurance industry is immune from healthcare data breaches. According to HIPPA Journal, there have been over 3,000 healthcare data breaches involving more than 500 records between 2009 and 2019, which have resulted in the loss, theft, exposure or impermissible disclosure of 230,954,151 records. In 2019 alone, healthcare data breaches were reported at a rate of 1.4 per day.

As a health insurance Broker, you collect full names, dates of birth, social security numbers and medical information from every Employee in the small Groups you serve. When investing in small Group insurance software, it is crucial to ensure stringent security measures are in place, while educating small Groups on cybersecurity best practices. Here are four tips to follow:

Ensure HIPAA and HITECH Compliance

The U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) are two federal laws that require healthcare organizations, including Brokers, to implement specific technical safeguards, including encryption and access controls, to protect confidential information, as well as disclose any data breaches. To verify a software’s compliance with these security and privacy regulations, Brokers can ensure certification by the Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST) Common Security Framework (CSF).

HITRUST CSF is a certifiable, information security framework that includes HIPAA and HITECH requirements, as well as ISO, PSI, NIST and more industry standards to help Brokers reduce risk through better information security. By verifying that a software is HITRUST compliant, you can ensure that unauthorized individuals cannot access or use confidential information, even if they are able to find the information in a database or network.

Use a Two-Step Verification Process

Two-factor authentication can help keep Broker and small Group accounts and data safe from hackers. When logging into your account, users will be prompted to provide something you know (your password) and something you have (your phone or Security Key).

Your password, for example, should be strong, meaning it contains some combination of upper and lowercase letters, numerals and special characters. The second layer requires you to input a special PIN that gets sent to you via an email, SMS or an app to prevent an external person from accessing your insurance software and accounts. When two-factor checks are prompted at multiple touchpoints throughout the user’s journey, Brokers can ensure that information within the software is only accessed by those who have been granted permission.

Stay Current on Cybersecurity Trends

As a Broker, your clients rely on you to be a trusted advisor. It is important, then, to keep a pulse on the current cybersecurity trends, as well as on potential threats, like ransomware attacks, happening within the healthcare industry.

For example, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported an uptick in cyber criminals sending phishing emails in an attempt to takeover healthcare IT systems and steal information. Informing your small Groups to be vigilant to these types of ransomware attacks can be the difference in protecting an Employee’s sensitive medical information or getting hacked.

Consolidate Benefits Platforms

When it comes to the security of your small Group insurance platforms, it is a numbers game. The more platforms you have for quoting, selling and enrolling, the greater your risk of a cybersecurity attack when transferring data between platforms.

To minimize the risk of compromising data, Brokers should look for a holistic digital platform for quoting, selling and enrolling small Groups. A comprehensive insurance software can allow Brokers to not only provide a seamless, connected journey throughout the Group benefits process, but also ensure better protection of a small Group’s data.

FormFire’s all-in-one digital solution offers the most extensive platform for the collection of personal health information that is HITRUST compliant and can service Carriers in their own unique formats. To learn more, or to request a demo, contact FormFire today.