Clinics Be Warned: Encrypted Email May Be Leaving You Vulnerable to Threats

A major misconception circulating the healthcare community is putting clinics and patients at risk. You may have heard that encrypted email services like Microsoft Exchange are compliant. Is it true? Somewhat. But not completely.

When your IT team tells you that you need to use encrypted email, they’re right. But encryption is only part of compliance. There are still many other layers that need to be in place to be compliant and to fully protect your practice. Operating outside of compliance poses an unnecessary risk of a data breach and regulatory enforcement against your clinic.

There’s no doubt that encryption is part of the formula for compliance, but it’s only one factor out of 144 regulatory considerations, and there’s ample room for error.

Where Encryption Falls Short

  • Transport Encryption, also known as Transport Layer Security (TLS), relies on mail servers to work properly. If your email recipient’s service doesn’t support TLS, the communication won’t go through. When it comes to sharing patient information, there’s no time to spare and no room for disruption. Keeping the lines of communication open and efficient amongst healthcare teams is critical for patient safety.
  • In the event of an audit, legal action, or dispute, you must be able to prove the chain of custody. You need evidence that verifies who exactly has accessed protected patient information, and when. Sending anything over email doesn’t give you that certainty. These days, professional hackers (yes, that’s a profession) can decrypt almost anything with enough time and the right amount of computing power. So, if they grab an encrypted email off a server passing Internet traffic, it’s as good as read.
  • No matter how you look at it, email was not designed with any privacy or security in mind. If your encrypted email is travelling through a broken, hacked, poorly configured, or compromised server, there’s a higher risk that outside threats will find their way in, and a breach of patient information will happen.
  • Using email to receive information puts your clinic at risk. Email is the number one entry point for malicious malware. Upgrading to Brightsquid Secure-Mail will protect your clinic and patient data from cyber threats, while ensuring that your communications comply with privacy regulations.

As data breaches continue to climb, your clinic could be next. Protect your practice from becoming the next data breach in the news by upgrading to Secure-Mail today. Secure-Mail prevents cyber attacks and streamlines all communications processes into a single easy-to-manage channel.

Don’t have a Secure-Mail account? Contact us today to get started!