Email Encryption for HIPAA Compliance

pexels vlada karpovich 4050304. Email Encryption for HIPAA

Email encryption is a method that converts data that is readable into something that is not readable in the hope of preserving the privacy of the data. If used in conjunction with HIPAA security measures, email encryption could assist in protecting the privacy and security of PHI (Protected Health Information). This article will explain how to utilize email encryption to achieve HIPAA compliance by covering its fundamentals. We’ll also provide a list of HIPAA-compliant email providers to compare. 

Email Encryption to Achieve HIPAA Compliance

Here are some ways that you can utilize encryption in the email to ensure HIPAA compliance:

  • Use popular and HIPAA-compliant email services that secure messages in transit and at rest.
  • Ensure that you secure the message using high-level encryption techniques, such as obtaining HIPAA certification.
  • Limit access to the individuals who can receive and send emails that contain PHI.
  • Limit access to audit logs to stop unauthorized access to PHI.
  • Allow two-factor authentication to provide more security.
  • Inform staff about HIPAA compliance guidelines and procedures, email compliance, and email rules, such as encryption for emails and secure web and online forms.

Following HIPAA guidelines regarding email compliance and rules and these additional steps will ensure PHI transmitted via email stays private and secure. HIPAA-compliant secure email services provide the required tools and features to ensure your PHI is protected and kept safe when sent via email.

The HIPAA Compliance Checklist

HIPAA compliance requires companies to follow the best practices in managing PHI. The HIPAA Compliance Checklist can help ensure that all HIPAA obligations are met and that PHI is secured. 

Here’s a list of technical safeguards for HIPAA Compliance: 

  1. Implement physical, administrative, and technological safeguards to safeguard the privacy and security of PHI.
  2. Create HIPAA guidelines and procedures to ensure conformity with HIPAA regulations regarding email communications.
  3. Train staff on HIPAA policies, procedures, and security guidelines.
  4. Use access control measures to restrict who has access to PHI.
  5. Secure email encryption is recommended for all email accounts that contain PHI.
  6. Check systems for any unauthorized access to or use of PHI.
  7. Set up audit controls to track and record HIPAA-related activity.
  8. Update regularly HIPAA policies, procedures, guidelines, and security.
  9. Ensure HIPAA Compliance is maintained by conducting periodic audits and risk assessments.
  10. Create an email notification for breach of procedure system to notify via email reports of any unauthorized access to or disclosure of PHI.

What are the HIPAA-compliant email providers?

HIPAA-compliant email service providers include those that satisfy the specifications of HIPAA to protect the privacy and security of PHI. These providers offer security features (email encryption software) like encryption in transit, in-the-middle users’ authentication, granular audit trails, and access control to safeguard against unauthorized access.

There are several HIPAA-compliant email service providers available, including: 

  • Microsoft Office 365 HIPAA/HITECH-compliant plans
  • Google G Suite HIPAA or Google Workspace/HITECH-compliant plans
  • Proof point HIPAA Compliant Email Services and Encryption
  • Six HIPAA Compliant Email Services and File Encryption
  • Iron Core HIPAA Compliant Email Service and File Encryption

With these HIPAA-compliant email and email archiving service providers, you can be sure that all personal health information is secure and encrypted when sent via email. You can sign-up for a 30-day free trial with these popular email applications before choosing which email platform suits you best.

Having HIPAA-Compliant Secure Email Providers Is Only A Part Of HIPAA Compliance

 HIPAA-compliant email service is only one aspect of HIPAA compliance. HIPAA stipulates that all PHI is kept safe and protected throughout the day. Alongside HIPAA-compliant secure email services, companies must also have guidelines and policies that ensure the privacy and security of email content, especially that of PHI. This includes access control, user authentication, data backup, and disaster recovery procedures. HIPAA also requires companies to perform regular HIPAA risk assessments to determine any vulnerabilities that could be present within their systems.

What is PHI? And why is it essential to secure it?

PHI refers to any protected health information that could be used to identify the patient. Additionally, HIPAA stipulates that all PHI must be secured and private, and encryption of emails is among the most efficient methods to ensure this.

Utilizing HIPAA-compliant email services and encryption techniques, you can ensure your personal information is safe in transit and storage. This ensures the fullest extent of HIPAA compliance standards is met and PHI is kept secure and private.

How does PHI get encrypted during the entire process?

HIPAA-compliant email services use different encryption methods to add an extra layer of security to ensure the privacy and security of PHI.It is used during transit (i.e., while data moves between computers) and at rest (i.e. when saved on different storage devices).

Encryption In Transit

The process of encryption in transit can be described as the act of encryption data as it is moved from one system to the next. This ensures that any PHI sent from one email address to other email recipients remains safe while traveling across networks. HIPAA-compliant secure email services use encryption methods, such as TLS (Transport Layer Security) and SSL (Secure Socket Layer), to safeguard PHI during transport.

Encryption At Rest

“Encryption at rest” refers to the process stored on storage devices or email archives, such as computers. HIPAA-compliant secure email services use various encryption methods like AES 256-Bit Encryption (Advanced Security Standard for Encryption) and PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) to safeguard the privacy of PHI while it is in storage or email archiving.

Who is covered by HIPAA?

Per HIPAA, “Covered Entities” must comply with HIPAA compliance requirements for handling PHI and observing transmission security. The covered entities include:

  • Healthcare Industry and Healthcare Organizations
  • Healthcare professionals (e.g., hospitals and physicians)
  • Health plans (e.g., insurance companies as well as HMOs)
  • Associate business (e.g., suppliers who provide solutions to entities covered)
  • Any company that handles PHI is a Covered Entity and must comply with HIPAA regulations.

This means using HIPAA-compliant secure email services for all addresses communicating PHI. It also includes implementing encryption techniques to ensure the privacy and security of all PHI.

How can an entity violate HIPAA?

HIPAA considers any unauthorized access to or disclosure of PHI a violation. HIPAA-compliant secure email services are designed to prevent such breaches by encrypting data during transit and storage.

Examples of HIPAA violations are: 

  • Sending unencrypted emails containing PHI
  • Use of unencrypted email addresses in transmitting PHI
  • People store unencrypted PHI on storage devices such as computers or devices
  • Unauthorized use of secure email addresses and access to PHI

The consequences of these violations could be penalties, fines, and even criminal charges for both organizations and individuals. When you utilize HIPAA-compliant secure email services, you can ensure your private information is kept secure and protected throughout the day.

Penalties For HIPAA Non-Compliance

The penalties for violating HIPAA could be very extreme. HIPAA violations could result in criminal and civil penalties, including as high as $1.5 million in fines for each instance. Additionally, HIPAA regulations may oblige organizations to offer breach notification services for affected patients, which could be costly and long-winded.

IT Support’s Role In HIPAA Compliance

IT support plays a crucial role in ensuring HIPAA compliance by implementing HIPAA-compliant email services, encryption techniques, and additional security methods following the business associate agreement. Professionals assist businesses in adhering to HIPAA standards to protect the security of PHI.

Additionally, they can offer guidelines on using HIPAA-compliant secure email services to secure emails containing PHI and guarantee HIPAA compliance. Including IT support is essential for HIPAA compliance.

WheelHouse IT provides HIPAA-compliant email solutions to help companies achieve HIPAA regulations and safeguard their personal information. We provide various solutions, such as email encryption access control, encryption, and loss prevention for data to ensure that PHI remains safe and secure throughout the day in compliance with the business associate agreement. 

WheelHouse IT As Your Partner In HIPAA Compliance

WheelHouse IT provides HIPAA-compliant email services and encryption solutions to businesses that require a safe method of sending, receiving, and saving PHI while respecting the business associate agreement. We employ the most recent encryption techniques, including TLS and SSL for emails in transit, AES 256-bit encryption, and PGP for data at rest. Additionally, we ensure HIPAA conformity requirements are met by taking extra steps.

The services we offer include the following:

  • HIPAA-compliant email encryption
  • Controlling access and authentication
  • Data loss prevention
  • Secure storage of PHI under the business associate agreement
  • Support and maintenance of HIPAA compliance 

We also provide consulting and training services that help businesses understand HIPAA regulations, use HIPAA-compliant email services, and ensure HIPAA compliance.

Contact us for more details about HIPAA-compliant email solutions from WheelHouse IT. We can help you attain HIPAA compliance and also ensure the privacy and security that you have of your PHI.

We look forward to working with you throughout the HIPAA conformance journey!

Best Secure Email Solutions for 2023

secure email

What Is the Best Encrypted Secure Email Service?

Maintaining a high level of security is essential when it comes to email. It is crucial to have a secure email system in place, particularly since email for corporate communication is becoming more widespread.

Anyone, especially business owners, should take extra security measures to ensure that their email communications are protected from prying eyes, whether those eyes belong to a busybody colleague or a hacker attempting to break into your network. Fortunately, this is when encrypted email services come into play. 

Email encryption is a layer of security that ensures only the email recipients can read the entire message. If you want to send emails more securely, signing up for an email encryption service can be your best option.

However, finding secure email providers may be challenging today due to numerous choices. Not to mention the rise of some popular email service providers, such as Zoho Mail, Office 365, Apple Mail, and Google Workspace. You can do a few simple things to protect your email account.

How to Secure Your Email with the Best Encrypted Service

Here are some tips to help you secure your email with the best-encrypted service:

Pick a Password That Is Difficult To Crack

Since we spend so much time online, we must have strong passwords to safeguard our online accounts and personal information. When you set up a password for your email account, whether it’s Zoho Mail, Outlook, Apple Mail, or Google, you should choose a password that is difficult for others to figure out.

A secure master password should be at least eight characters long and comprise a combination of letters, numbers, and special symbols. It is also essential that you avoid using phrases that are simple to figure out, such as “password” or “123456.”

It is highly recommended that you use a separate password for each online account. Moreover, you can use a password manager to create and store secure passwords. It is crucial to have strong passwords to protect your information, even if it may take a little bit of additional effort to make them.  

Make Sure Two-Factor Authentication Is Activated

You can add an extra layer of security to your account by using something called two-factor authentication. To access your account using two-factor authentication, in addition to entering your password, you will be asked to input a code that has been delivered to your mobile or other trusted device.

A private encryption key or code must be entered before accessing your account. Because of this, it will be much more difficult for someone to hack into your account, as they would require access to both your password and your phone.

Refrain From Using Free Public Wi-Fi Networks

Staying away from public Wi-Fi connections is one of the most effective strategies to keep your email safe. When you connect to a public Wi-Fi network, all the emails in transit go through an unprotected network or mail servers. This risks your personal information because active users on the same network or email servers can steal your data anytime.

Use a VPN

Utilizing a VPN, also known as a virtual private network, is another method to safeguard your email. You should also be aware of the danger posed by IP address tracking. Your IP address might be revealed and used by hackers to get access to your account or private data in certain situations. Since a virtual private network (VPN) protects all the content you transmit and receive, it is far more difficult for a third party to steal your details, such as credit card information or address book.

Avoid Clicking on Any Links That Seem Dubious

Spam messages, phishing emails, or any incoming messages with dangerous links are methods that hackers use to get access to your account. You might be sent to a malicious website if you click on one of these links. If you click on the link, you can be sent to a fraudulent website or a contact portal that has been designed to seem just like the login page for your email service provider. After you have entered your login information on this screen, the hacker can access your account.

To prevent this, make it a habit to click on links coming only from reliable sources. You may also avoid being scammed using email aliases or disposable email addresses.

Make Frequent Updates to Your Software

Be sure you are using the most recent version of your software at all times; this is an additional step you can take to safeguard your email. Maintaining up-to-date software and security features, including your operating system and web browser, is one of the best ways to defend yourself against cyberattacks since hackers are constantly developing new techniques to take advantage of security flaws in older software versions.

There are a variety of additional steps you may take to boost the safety of your email communications. But in the end, it’s collaborating with an IT support company that’ll offer the best security for your data and provide you the peace of mind of knowing that your email contents are safe. 

Work With a Reputable IT Support Provider

Although encryption may seem a big task, an IT support team can help you get started. Several trustworthy IT support providers can help you establish and manage an encrypted email system with robust security features. Working with a reliable IT service provider for your email encryption needs comes with many additional advantages, including the following:

They will provide you with the most recent version of the program available.

When you partner with an IT service company, they will see that you have the latest edition of any email encryption software you may need. This is significant because the field of email encryption is in a state of ongoing change and evolution. You need to ensure that you are employing the best software and advanced tools available to you.

They’ll take care of updates for you as needed.

Working with an IT support company also has the advantage of having all upgrades handled automatically. The company will manage all necessary updates and security fixes, so you don’t have to.

You can count on them for professional assistance.

When you deal with an IT support company, you can be confident that your email encryption requirements are met with knowledgeable professionals’ help. This is important since email encryption may be a complicated matter. You need to be sure that you have somebody who can handle your concerns. Then, assist you in solving any possible difficulties.

They can quickly identify the solution that effectively meets your needs.

It can be challenging to determine which email encryption solution is the best for your company. There is such a wide array of options are available. An IT specialist can evaluate your requirements and provide advanced tools and services that will be most suitable for you.

Having an IT support team is cost-effective and time-saving.

This is because they can supply you with a unified solution that addresses all of your requirements. Contrary to if you were to cobble together various products and messaging services.

In general, forming a partnership with a company that provides IT services is the most effective way to guarantee your email communication’s safety and protection.

WheelHouse IT

At WheelHouse IT, we know how critical it is to maintain compliance and security for your company. Because of this, we provide email encryption services to assist your business in recognizing legitimate senders. Additionally, this prevents unauthorized parties from gaining access to confidential information.

Our technique for encrypting emails uses digital signatures to convey to recipients that the sender is genuine, and the content has not been altered. This guarantees the safety of your communications and your company’s continued compliance with the standards set by the industry.

In addition, we also provide a variety of other services, including the following:

  • Managed IT Services
  • Secure Cloud Storage Solutions
  • Web Design and Marketing
  • Web Hosting
  • Cybersecurity Services
  • Structured Cabling
  • Mobile Device Management

Employing these services will provide you the confidence that your business is utilizing the most up-to-date and effective security procedures and tools. All while protecting the confidentiality, accessibility, and integrity of your data.

Secure Email Service: In a Nutshell

Ultimately, email encryption is a must-have for businesses operating in the modern world. Your email communication can be guaranteed safe and in full conformity with the industry’s standards when you work with a company specializing in IT services.

IT companies provide a variety of methods to protect the privacy and security of your electronic correspondence. This includes two-factor authentication, digital signatures, managed IT services, and secure cloud storage solutions. Working with a seasoned staff ensures that your company uses the best practices.

Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365 Email

Google Workspace

Google Workspace (formerly known as G Suite) is a suite of cloud-based productivity and collaboration tools from Google. One of the most popular offerings is Gmail for business, the professional email solution from Google.

Gmail for business provides a secure, private, and ad-free email experience tailored to companies’ needs. It works with Microsoft Outlook and other email clients, making it easy to switch over or integrate with existing systems.

How to Create a Professional Email Address with Google Workspace

Here are the steps on how to create Google professional email:

  1. Sign up for Google Workspace

The first step is to sign up for Google Workspace, the business version of Gmail. You can choose a plan that fits your needs, ranging from Business Starter to Enterprise plans with advanced storage features.

  1. Set up Your Domain Name

Once you are set up with Google Workspace, you must create your custom domain name. Then, add it to your account. This will be part of your professional email address (e.g., janedoe@yourcompanyname.com).

  1. Create Your Professional Email Address

Using the domain name created in step two, create a custom email address for yourself or each employee working on the same project/team. The primary email address will be in the format of firstname.lastname@yourdomainname.com.

  1. Set up Email Forwarding and Access

Google Workspace allows you to set up forwarding for any professional emails sent to your account, making sure no important messages are missed. You can access the email account from anywhere with an internet connection using one of Google’s applications or a third-party application like Microsoft Outlook.

  1. Ensure Compliance and Security Standards

Google Workspace offers enhanced security features that help keep your data private, secure, and compliant with industry standards. These features include two-step verification, encryption protocols, spam protection, and more. This ensures that all of your emails are safe from hacking and fraud.

Google Workspace makes it easy to create a secure business email address that is secure, private, and compliant with industry standards. With communication tools like Microsoft Outlook integration, email forwarding, and enhanced security features, Gmail for business is an excellent choice for organizations looking to stay ahead of the competition.

What are the Types of Professional Emails?

Professional emails can be divided into two main categories: transactional and marketing.

Transactional emails are sent from an individual or a business to another individual or company to complete a transaction, such as an invoice or purchase confirmation. Transactional emails should contain relevant information about the transaction that is easy to digest and understand.

Marketing emails are sent from an individual or business to a group of people to promote products, services, events, etc. These emails typically include promotions and discounts, website links, blog posts, social media accounts, etc. These emails must be clear and concise so the recipient knows what it is about at first glance.

More and more businesses are turning to professional email providers like Google Workspace and Microsoft Office 365 to create their business emails. These services provide companies with the custom tools and features they need to ensure compliance and security standards, as well as the ability to access their emails from anywhere with an internet connection.

Creating a professional email address with Google Workspace or Microsoft Office 365 is manageable. It can give your business an edge over competitors by providing customers with a secure, private, reliable, and effective email experience. With these services, you can rest assured that your emails are safe from hacking and fraud, allowing you to focus on what matters most: growing your business.

How Does Google Workspace Compare to Microsoft 365?

Google Workspace is an excellent choice for businesses looking to create professional emails. The service provides users with all the digital tools they need to ensure compliance and security standards and access their business email from anywhere with an internet connection. Google also offers additional features such as email forwarding, video conferencing, automatic backups, two-step verification, encryption protocols, spam protection, and more.

Microsoft Office 365, on the other hand, is an email service provider that equips users with robust compliance and security features such as data protection solutions, advanced virus scanning capabilities, and automated archiving. Microsoft also offers useful collaboration tools like Outlook Calendars and OneDrive for Business, making it easy for teams to record and collaborate in real-time.

Comparison

The compliance features of Microsoft Office 365 are superior to those of Google Workspace. This makes Microsoft Office 365 an ideal choice for businesses that must ensure their data is secure and compliant with industry standards. However, if you just need essential email services, Google Workspace might be the right choice. It offers all the features of a professional email service at a lower cost.

Even if you don’t need all of the features that come with Office 365, it’s still worth considering. This is due to its superior compliance capabilities. Microsoft Office 365 offers advanced security and compliance features such as data protection solutions, automated archiving, encryption protocols, two-step verification processes, advanced virus scanning capabilities, and more. All of these are designed to ensure your company meets industry standards and regulations.

Regardless of your choice, investing in a professional email service like Google Workspace or Microsoft Office 365 can help protect your business’s data and give customers a secure, private, and reliable email experience. Investing in security and compliance tools is essential for any business looking to stay ahead of the competition.

When Choosing an Email Platform: What Should You Consider?

Now more than ever, businesses must ensure their data is secure and compliant with industry standards. Professional email services like Google Workspace and Microsoft Office 365 provide robust tools and features that help protect customer data while providing them with a secure, private, and reliable email experience. Choosing the exemplary email service for your business is essential and can significantly protect customer data and stay competitive.

When selecting an email platform, it’s essential to consider each service’s features and capabilities. Ask yourself questions such as Does this service have all the features I need? Is this service secure? How easy is it to use?

It’s also important to consider the cost of the service and whether or not you can afford it. Generally speaking, professional email services like Google Workspace and Microsoft Office 365 are more expensive than free services. However, they offer additional features that make them well worth the investment.

Finally, you should consider any specific compliance regulations your business may need to adhere to. Depending on your industry or sector, particular rules or standards may exist for data security, privacy, and compliance. If so, it’s essential to ensure that the email service you choose is up-to-date with all the latest regulations and standards.

By taking the time to compare different services and understand what features each one offers, you can make an informed decision when selecting an email platform for your business. Investing in a professional email service is essential for any business looking to stay ahead of the competition. As well as to ensure data security and privacy to gain customer trust.

How to Configure Your Professional Email from a Google Account with Microsoft Outlook

If you’re looking to configure an email account from a Google Account with Microsoft Outlook, there are several steps you should take. First, open Microsoft Outlook and select the File tab in the top left corner. Next, click Add Account and enter your name and business email address into the appropriate fields. Once that is done, select Manual Setup or Additional Server Types to open the Choose Service window.

Now select IMAP from the list of options. Then, enter imap.gmail.com for both the incoming mail server (IMAP) and outgoing mail server (SMTP). Next, choose Sign In to enter your Google credentials. If two-factor authentication is enabled on your account, you must provide an app password when prompted by Microsoft Outlook.

After successfully logging in, select the Advanced tab and enter your Google Account information. Make sure to select SSL as the incoming server encryption type and TLS as the outgoing server encryption type. Finally, click OK and then Finish to save your new account settings.

Now that you’ve configured your professional email from a Google Account with Microsoft Outlook, it’s essential to make sure you are taking steps to keep it secure. This includes using strong passwords, setting up two-factor authentication, configuring advanced security features such as domain authentication and data encryption services, and using anti-malware software to protect yourself against potential cyber threats. By following these steps, you can ensure that your emails remain secure and protected.

With a combination of Google Workspace’s robust suite of applications and the security features offered by Microsoft Outlook, your business can benefit from a secure and reliable email system. Both platforms offer powerful tools that will help keep your emails safe. Meanwhile, providing the scalability and feature-rich options you need to run a successful business.

Tip of the Week: Organize Your Email with Filters

email organization

Email might be one of the biggest methods of communication in the business world, but it’s hard to stay on top of, even for the best of us. One of the ways you can take back control of your email is to utilize filters. Let’s discuss how you can set these up for your Gmail or Outlook accounts. 

Your Inbox Can Be a Useful Space Again 

Both Microsoft and Google give users the ability to keep their inboxes organized. It doesn’t take a ton of technical knowledge, either. All it takes is a couple of filters integrated right into the software to make it happen. 

Gmail 

Gmail can automatically sort incoming messages into labels using filters. Labels are defined by a specific variable, like maybe you want to set up a label for your pay stubs or to keep reservations/work-related travel separate from the rest of the noise you receive on a daily basis. Labels are great to ensure that you keep things organized, and to make matters better–if messages fit into more than one category–they can be in both places at once! 

You can define your labels by navigating to More in the sidebar and selecting Create new label 

You can also automate this process by going to Settings > Filters and Blocked Addresses > Create a new filter. 

(There is another way to do this, but this option is the most straightforward, so we’ll stick to this one.) 

You’ll see a form appear with variables you can select; these variables will help Gmail identify when an email should be sorted into the label. There are tons of options, like referencing the sender, the subject line, and various keywords. These filters can then send emails to specific labels, where they are easier to read and find later on. 

Microsoft 

Outlook provides users with a similar process, but they are called rules and folders instead. You can set up folders while you are making your different rules, but it’s better to set them up ahead of time. To set them up, access the Mail pane and right-click where you want your new folder to be. When the menu appears, select New folder… and give it a name. 

 

To create your rule, right-click on a message and select Rules > Create Rule. You can select all of the conditions that should apply to this rule, as well as what happens when you receive a message for which the rule applies. You can even make these rules retroactive by selecting the option to Run this rule now on messages already in the current folder. 

 

With these labels, rules, filters, or whatever they are called in your chosen solution, you should find yourself more organized than ever before. What other tips would you like to see us cover in the future? Let us know in the comments! 

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