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Snowflake and HIPAA Compliance: What You Need to Know

HIPAA, SOC 2 and HITRUST are national standards and relied on by US healthcare organizations to achieve and maintain regulatory compliance.With more than 155.8 million records exposed every year across the U.S. from data breaches, the need to strengthen network security rises as cyber attacks continue to evolve and focus the majority of their attacks on businesses within the healthcare and finance sectors.For healthcare organizations struggling to achieve or maintain HIPAA compliance, the addition of Snowflake data warehouse software can help you create a HIPAA-compliant infrastructure to better maintain HIPAA compliance year-round.For more information regarding how the Snowflake service and software can aid your organization with HIPAA compliance, our article will share everything you need to know.

What is HIPAA Compliance?

HIPAA is a federal law requiring the creation of national standards to safeguard sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient’s consent or knowledge.The core purposes of HIPAA compliance is to:

  • Update the flow of healthcare information
  • Create new conditions around health care coverage
  • Regulate how PHI is protected by fraud, theft, and unapproved disclosure
  • Assure health insurance portability by eliminating job-lock coming from pre-existing medical conditions

Furthermore, the HIPAA is broken down into three core criteria, known as audit protocols. Spread out across 169 modules, HIPAA audit protocols detail the security rules, breach notification rules, and HIPAA privacy rules that organizations must follow to achieve and maintain HIPAA compliance.Failure to remain HIPAA compliant can result in fines up to $50,000 per violation and criminal charges. To better maintain HIPAA compliance year-round, healthcare organizations often leverage Snowflake. HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, has cost healthcare organizations nearly $6 million in compliance fines throughout 2021.

What is Snowflake?

Snowflake is an industry-leading cloud data warehousing solution that enables data integration, storage, processing, and analytic solutions.With the Snowflake Data Warehouse, healthcare organizations can improve their security and governance with a cloud-powered platform supporting HIPAA, HITRUST, PCI DSS, FedRAMP, and SOC 1 and 2 Type II requirements from the ground up.

How Snowflake Aids in HIPAA Compliance

Snowflake’s infrastructure supports HIPAA compliance making it ideal for healthcare organizations who are struggling to remain compliant. However, what really differentiates Snowflake is the benefits it can provide healthcare organizations, in addition to compliance, such as:

  • Speed and Performance: Snowflake’s cloud infrastructure allows data to load faster and support a greater volume of queries.
  • Availability and Security: Snowflake’s data warehouse improves operational efficiencies and scalability of healthcare providers.
  • Concurrency and Accessibility: Snowflake data warehouse uses unique multicluster architecture to eliminate query failures and delays while providing the ability to scale up or down as required.
  • Support and Storage for Structured and Semistructured Data: Seamlessly combine structured and semistructured data for analysis and load into the cloud without the need for a fixed relational schema first.

How Healthcare Organizations Use Snowflake Security for HIPAA

What is Snowflake

Image Courtesy: Snowflake

Technical Safeguards

Snowflake’s technical security overhauls security controls to fortify networks and devices from cybersecurity gaps in the following ways:

  • End-to-End Encryption: Helps enforce HIPAA privacy rules by only allowing end-users and runtime components to read their data. No third parties, in addition to Snowflake’s cloud computing platform, can see the data.
  • True Data Interoperability: Leverage deeper insights into processes by centralizing all data in a secured data lake and benefitting from improving patient outcomes, delivering quality member experiences, and streamlining operational inefficiencies.
  • Network and Site Access: Network policies create the framework for site access which is controlled through IP allow and blocklists. Additionally, with a Snowflake account, private connectivity can be established with cloud partners like AWS PrivateLink and Microsoft Azure Private Link to the Snowflake service.

Administrative Security

The Snowflake cloud supports multiple cybersecurity options including multi-factor authentication (MFA), single sign-on (SSO), OAuth for authorized account access, and key pair authentication and key pair rotation for increased security for user accounts.

  • Access Control: User-based access control model provides improved control and flexibility over the privileges assigned to each role (see image below).
  • Data Encryption: Snowflake offers one of the most user-friendly and secure cloud data warehouse platforms that use industry-grade AES 256-bit encryption with a hierarchical key model rooted in a hardware security module.
  • Account and User Authentication: Snowflake cloud supports multiple cybersecurity measures including multi-factor authentication (MFA), single sign-on (SSO), OAuth for authorized account access, and key pair authentication and key pair rotation for increased security for user accounts.
Snowflake Security

Image Courtesy: Snowflake

Physical Safeguards

Snowflake cloud data warehouse is hosted on a cloud data platform, like AWS and Google Cloud. As a result, Snowflake data remains protected against natural and manmade disasters.Pro Tip: Snowflake price fluctuates in accordance to the platform you choose, such as Standard, Enterprise, Business Critical, and Virtual Private Snowflake (VPS).

Interested in learning more? Check out these blogs:

Maintain HIPAA Compliance With Snowflake

Snowflake, HIPAA compliance, and healthcare organizations go hand-in-hand.From achieving and maintaining regulatory compliance to empowering healthcare providers with the most sophisticated and robust cloud security technology, we recommend Snowflake so our customers can stay protected and HIPAA compliant around the clock.With the power of the Snowflake data warehouse in your corner, healthcare organizations benefit from:

  • Seamless data sharing
  • Improved operational efficiencies
  • User roles with granted access privileges
  • A centralized cloud platform for centralizing data
  • Built-in security and governance of data for their cloud
  • Support for achieving and maintaining HIPAA compliance

Partner with Ideas2IT and benefit from our decade-plus experience of creating custom software solutions within the healthcare arena and never fear being non-HIPAA compliant again.For more information, connect with one of our IT healthcare specialists today.

Ideas2IT Team

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