The healthcare industry is at the receiving end of email hacks, which are problematic from a compliance perspective regarding reporting requirements. According to a recent article, email is the No. 1 attack vector, mainly through phishing attacks, because the end user is one of, if not the riskiest, point of entry into the organization. Email hacks are prevalent and cause concerns around reporting breaches to the affected patients and regulators. In 2022 alone, more than 122 email-related incidents affecting over 1.33 million patients have been reported to the Department of Health and Human Services. The article also highlights that bad habits, such as leaving data in personal email accounts, are rife for legal pursuit or even enforcement actions by OCR.

The healthcare industry must adopt better data retention policies to ensure that a given entity may not have tens of thousands of emails within a single account. After an account hack, the privacy team needs to know what data is in the account. The security team must then extract data for the entire account and run it through a scanning engine to look for protected health information (PHI) and credit cards. Privacy compliance and legal teams take the stance that if PHI were in there, they have to assume that the hacker saw it because they cannot prove they didn’t.

Email forensics and reporting present significant compliance challenges for the healthcare industry. To combat this, entities need to adopt better data retention policies, ensure that they implement robust security measures to protect against email attacks, and report breaches to the appropriate parties promptly. The risk to protected health information is off the charts, and the industry needs to take proactive steps to mitigate these risks, such as adopting an email backup solution.

Email Vault is a secure email storage solution that allows users to securely store and organize their emails, attachments, and other email communications. Email features multi-factor authentication to protect sensitive information from unauthorized access. Email Vault can be particularly useful for businesses that store confidential information, such as financial records, legal documents, and private correspondence. With Email Vault, users can have peace of mind knowing that their sensitive data is secure and easily accessible when needed.