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In May this year, two New York City hospitals — New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center — were slammed with a whopping $4.8 million fine from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the biggest HIPAA fine in U.S. history. The hospitals were fined for failing to protect patient information under HIPAA privacy laws due to an incident in 2010 when the electronic health data of 6,800 patients were made public on the Internet. According to the HHS investigation, the incident unfolded because a Columbia faculty member attempted to deactivate a personally owned service that was connected to the hospital's network where the patient data resided. 

The moral of the story? As employee-owned technology permeates the healthcare industry, organizations need to get serious about secure data storage practices. The problem facing many healthcare IT departments is figuring out how to regulate data security in a world where many employees adopt their own mobile and cloud applications if company-provided apps are too difficult to use. What's commonly being referred to as "the consumerization of IT" or (more insidiously) "shadow IT" can mean major fines in the case of a HIPAA audit — or worse — a data breach. 

What's the solution? "IT needs to first understand that shadow IT operators are trying to do their jobs as efficiently and effectively as possible," technology journalist Ryan Faas says. "Ideally that leads to engaging the operators and working to find effective and secure solutions that meet their needs." 

Read more at CITEWorld

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Shadow IT: How IT Depts. Can Use It to Their Advantage

While shadow IT may seem like a pro's worst nightmare when it comes to data storage and security issues within an organization, it can also be an opportunity. Andrew Conry Murray, director of content and community at independent technology conference Interop, explains how shadow IT can be used to create a bridge between the IT department and the rest of the company. 

Read more at InformationWeek

Hospitals See a Major Uptick in Digital Data in 2014

This year the annual "Most Wired" survey, an industry-standard IT benchmark study conducted by Hospitals & Health Networks, found that hospitals are diving "deeper into data analytics and population health management." According to the survey, 69 percent are using tools to analyze digital clinical and administrative data to identify areas for care improvement and cost reduction.  

Read more at HealthcareITNews

You've Either Lost Data or You're About To 

Why get started with implementing a disaster recovery plan when your small business has been just fine so far? A combination of naiveté and unwillingness to spend time and money still keeps many small businesses from migrating to the cloud. However, new technologies are available that can significantly lower the costs associated with cloud migration and make the process easier. 

Read more at CloudTweaks

About Acronis

A Swiss company founded in Singapore in 2003, Acronis has 15 offices worldwide and employees in 50+ countries. Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud is available in 26 languages in 150 countries and is used by over 20,000 service providers to protect over 750,000 businesses.