By Bruce Christian
TeleQuality Encourages Data Centers Doing to Help Protect Health Care Information
The Ponemon Institute sets at $363 the value of a single stolen health record on the black market. In fact, medical information is worth 10 times more than a credit card number.
While it’s true businesses across all industries are being threatened increasingly by cybercrime and hackers, none is being attacked as much as the health care industry.
Health care companies experienced a 72 percent increase in cyber-attacks between 2013 and 2014, and in 2015 alone there were 253 breaches affecting 500 individuals or more with a combined loss of over 112 million records according to a reports by the Aberdeen Group and OCR.
Security experts say cyber criminals are targeting the $3 trillion U.S. health care industry because many of these organizations still rely on aging computer systems that do not use the latest security features.
Combine that with the simple fact that health care providers don’t always have an experienced IT workforce that can build and implement a comprehensive disaster recovery plan, the perfect recipe for costly implications such as data ransom is created.
In February, a hacker used malware to infect Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center’s computer systems and seized control, preventing the hospital system from being able to communicate on those devices.
The center only regained control of its network after paying out the ransom of 40 bitcoin, equivalent to $17,000.
TeleQuality has found that many health care providers, especially in rural areas, lack the IT resources necessary to secure their data. So what can data technology and innovation companies do to help the health care clients protect their data?
It is imperative that data centers and technology companies start taking a proactive approach in educating health care clients on low-tech and high-tech solutions to protect themselves and their patient’s data from ransomware and hacking.
Data centers can provide helpful how-to lists to health care providers regarding critical data securing activities such as how to:
- Backup Their Data – Data centers know the best prevention method to lessen potential damage by a ransomware attack is to make sure information is backed up using the 3-2-1 best practice rule. Health care providers may be unaware that they should create three backup copies of their data on two different media with one of those copies on a separate location. This is the most critical component for any business to consider when storing protected, valuable information and data centers should help educate their customers.
- Develop a Comprehensive Disaster Recovery Plan – Often health care organizations fail to consider and act on all aspects of disaster recovery from physical facilities and computer hardware and software to communications links, data files and databases, customer services provided, user operations, overall management information systems structure, end-user systems and developing testing criteria/procedures. The reality of today’s technological world is not if you get cyber attacked, but when. Ensure the health care providers have a disaster recovery plan that is comprehensive so they are prepared.
- Test the Disaster Recovery Plan Annually — Many health care providers are not aware that having a disaster recovery plan is a great start but isn’t enough on its own. They must be made aware that regular testing of the plan is critical to preventing it from becoming outdated. Data centers should encourage health care providers to test their plan annually to determine the feasibility and compatibility of backup facilities and to test short-term and long-term battery backup needs.
Not all prevention and protection steps need to be high-tech solutions. There are multiple low-tech tasks that health care providers personnel can perform to help ensure data security. Here are some tips to teach providers simple ways to prevent ransomware
- Avoid clicking on embedded links in unverified emails
- Regularly update software, programs and applications
- Use a layered protection suite
- Inventory physical devices and systems within the health care organization
- Perform vulnerability scans regularly
- Use the UCSC’s “Password Strength and Security Standards”
- Manage access permissions and incorporate the principles of least privilege and separation of duties
TeleQuality Communications is committed to helping our health care partners reach their broadband and technology goals, but it recognizes that with advanced technology comes advanced security needs and responsibility.
With three TeleQuality data centers opening this year in Atlanta, Chicago and Phoenix, the company recognizes the urgency to promote awareness and education to data centers and health care providers on ransomware and data hacking as it becomes a major threat to the health care industry.
TeleQuality’s CEO Tim Kolien wants all data center companies to join its commitment to help protect their health care clients, to fight the implications of data ransom and data hacking in order to protect health information.
Profitec’s OmniBill Supported by Release of OmniConnect, Two-way API
Profitec Billing Service Inc., a Wallingford, Conn.-based billing service bureau, is unveiling the newest version of its API ORLS and companion software product, OmniConnect.
The online record logistical service is a two-way, always-on web service, which is attached directly to a client’s OmniBill master billing database.
ORLS acts as an intermediary between Profitec’s OmniConnect, or any custom client front-end application and the billing system database.
OmniConnect is a versatile program product designed to take delivery of multiple feeds from a variety of carrier and platform portals. The individual feeds are reformatted and integrity checked and then converted to XML as they are uploaded into the OmniBill system using ORLS.
OmniConnect makes handling multiple platforms and databases manageable as it enables electronic upload of database content eliminating duplicate data entry and minimizing the effort of keeping the billing system in synch with outside portals and platforms.
ORLS is completely industry standard XML based, eliminating cross system compatibility hurdles. The system is fully two-way, enabling data extraction as well as record loading for a variety of areas including master account level, lines, services, features, equipment and technical line information.
ORLS supports activation, deactivation and change functionality for all areas. Additional system methods allow for the direct extraction of billing cycle-end information as well as full payment processing functionality directly to the master OmniBill database.
“In working with our customers we discovered that the billing system needs are a little more sophisticated in today’s challenging and competitive environment” states Randy Minervino, Profitec’s vice president of Sales and Marketing.
“Customers are using the billing system in conjunction with outside CRM systems and other sales operating systems as extensions of the presale effort and are looking for direct connection with the billing database,” Minervino continued. “Many of the sales being made today require extensive implementation effort and engineered organizational planning. Much of this aspect of the client turn up is being handled by custom client configured systems expressly created to handle complex task assignment.
“ORLS enables those systems to perform real-time interaction of the billing system with the results of the sales effort to minimize manual updating. Additionally, many of those same clients wish to utilize their CRM systems to handle front line customer service interactions so ORLS supports fetch calls to bring the specific account data to the CRM in real time,” Minervino said.
ORLS works in conjunction with other functionality inherent in OmniBill to update outside applications, such as provisioning activity at the switch or on the network platform, to enable a remote work force’s access to the billing database to perform account record updates and resolve trouble tickets, hand off order info to fulfillment centers and the updating of accounting systems with general ledger and other financial information.
Profitec Billing Services provides sophisticated billing services to local telephone companies, long distance carriers, cable providers, utilities, ISP’s, wireless providers and many others.
In addition to its staple services – service bureau processing, in-house customer service, and database administration – the company also offers a range of support services, including network provisioning, credit and collections, inbound sales and order entry, and telemarketing. It also can pull from this broad base of services to design a custom turnkey solution.
For more information, go to www.profitecinc.com or call 203-679-7010.
CSF Releases 8MS TeXT Version 1.3
CSF Corporation Inc. announced today the availability of 8MS TeXT Version 1.3 to enable texting with toll-free numbers as part of its 8MS Toll Free Provisioning and LCR Software Suite.
CSF’s 8MS toll-free number management, provisioning and least cost routing (LCR) solution enables carriers, RespOrgs and enterprise customers to provision faster, safer and more efficiently.
The addition of 8MS TeXT Version 1.3 for toll-free numbers adds texting enablement with new auto-responder capabilities to CSF’s 8MS suite of solutions.
“CSF is pleased to announce the availability of 8MS TeXT Version 1.3,” CSF’s Executive Vice President Frank Lauria said. “In addition to provisioning and managing toll-free voice services and routing using 8MS, our customers can now enable texting from the same easy-to-use 8MS provisioning interface. This opens up a whole new revenue opportunity for RespOrgs, carriers and their customers because mobile users can now send texts to and receive texts back from toll-free numbers.
“With a whole new generation of customers that prefer to interact via text, and years of investment in branding of their toll-free voice vanity numbers, this new capability is not only logical, but highly synergistic with their existing toll-free voice services,” Lauria added.
CSF is a leader in toll-free number management, provisioning, and LCR software. With more than 95 RespOrg and carrier customers, CSF’s flagship software product 8MS manages more than half of all toll-free numbers in the industry.
Customers of CSF save time and money with its toll-free number management, and they can reduce external carrier costs more than 20 percent using CSF’s LCR and route optimization software.
For more information, visit www.csfcorp.com.
NGN Establishes PoP at Colo Atl’s Downtown Atlanta Facility
NGN, a member-owned cooperative operating more than 1,600 miles of fiber optic infrastructure in North Georgia, announced it has established a Point-of-Presence (PoP) at Colo Atl, a provider of carrier-neutral colocation, data center and interconnection services in Atlanta.
The cooperative now offers wavelength services (1, 10, 40 and 100Gbps) and Layer 2/3 services over its MPLS network (10Mbps to 10Gbps) via its newest PoP.
“With a new PoP at Colo Atl’s highly regarded colocation facility in downtown Atlanta, NGN will add additional fault tolerance and route diversity to its network,” said Paul Belk, president and CEO of NGN. “This strategic move helps us to better serve both our members and other carriers.
“By moving existing interconnects from other data center facilities to Colo Atl’s facility, we will not only strengthen our network, but also decrease our OpEx due to the no cross connect fee policy in Colo Atl’s Meet Me Area,” Belk said.
Colo Atl is also home to the Georgia Technology Center, a test bed and live production facility for network communications equipment; and the Southeast Network Access Point, which provides next-generation Internet Exchange solutions, including SDN peering, testing and implementation.
“We’re very proud to welcome NGN to our Colo Atl family,” said Tim Kiser, owner and founder of Colo Atl. “NGN has quickly built a very important network throughout the Southeast and more specifically within Georgia.
“This announcement speaks to its continued growth and to Colo Atl’s reputation as a key PoP for NGN and many other tenants and carriers in the Southeast,” Kiser continued. “We look forward to providing NGN and its highly valued members with colocation and interconnection services at the most affordable rates available in Atlanta.”
NGN was founded in 2009 and operates more than 1,600 miles of fiber optic infrastructure from its headquarters in Clarkesville, Ga. Its state-of-the-art, low-latency digital optical network serves solutions to carriers, service providers and technology‐reliant businesses and organizations throughout the Southeast.
Unlike most telecommunications corporations, NGN is a corporation of cooperatives owned by its members including Habersham Electric Membership Corporation (HEMC), Blue Ridge Mountain Electrical Membership Corporation (BRMEMC) and NGN Connect.
For more information on NGN, visit www.ngn.coop or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.