BY JIM JONES, DIRECTOR OF INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS
DHHS Privacy and Security Team met Oct. 22 to discuss HIPAA, privacy and security during Cyber Security Month.
DHHS employees face Internet security challenges daily as they provide services to the citizens of North Carolina. One of the biggest challenges is related to the department’s principle role: an organization centered on health care and well-being of the state’s citizens.
“As a healthcare organization in an ever advancing society we must be interoperable, while maintaining a level of openness citizens expect from a state agency,” said Pyreddy Reddy, chief information security officer for DHHS. “Maintaining this balance is no easy task. Because no citizen, community, or organization is immune to cyber risk, there are steps we should take to minimize the chances of an incident occurring.”
Reddy reminds us that “cyber security is our shared responsibility.” He lists the following as the top tips for maintaining security:
- Lock and password-protect all personal and organization-owned devices including smart phones, laptops and tablets;
- Do not write user IDs and passwords down or store where others may have access to them, if you need assistance in keeping up with multiple accounts use a secure password management solution;
- Ensure your computer has up-to-date malware protection and is scanned regularly;
- Do not send confidential information (e.g. Personally Identifiable Information, Social Security Numbers, Internal Revenue Service data, Protected Health Information, etc.) unprotected;
- Dispose of confidential information properly;
- and Err on the side of caution; do not provide confidential information or information about your organization, including its structure, networks or applications, unless you are certain of a person’s authority to have the information.
“As we expand and diversify our technology in this digital age, we widen the way in which we become vulnerable; making it essential that each of us understands our important role in securing cyberspace,” Reddy said.
Should you become aware of an incident, report any suspected Incidents to the DHHS Privacy and Security Office.