10 Winter Weather Preparedness Tips [Infographic]

Unpredictable winter weather can spell trouble for any business, especially here in New England. Winter weather preparation can save your business money by helping prevent structural damage, hardware damage, and data loss.

To make sure your small business is ready to take on the worst winter storms, follow these ten tips:

10 Winter Preparedness Tips

Do You Have A Disaster Recovery Plan In Place For Your Medical Practice?

In its March 2018 cybersecurity newsletter, OCR explained the HIPAA Rules on contingency planning and urged healthcare organizations to plan for emergencies to ensure a return to normal operations can be achieved in the shortest possible time frame.

A contingency plan is required to ensure that when disaster strikes, organizations know exactly what steps must be taken and in what order.

What are the HIPAA Rules on Contingency Planning?

HIPAA Rules on contingency planning can be found in the Security Rule administrative safeguards -45 CFR § 164.308(a)(7)(ii)(A-E).

  • Develop and Implement a Data Backup Plan – 308(a)(7)(ii)(A)
  • Develop a Disaster Recovery Plan – 308(a)(7)(ii)(B)
  • Develop and Emergency Mode Operation Plan – 308(a)(7)(ii)(C)
  • Develop and Implement Procedures for Testing and Revision of Contingency Plans – 308(a)(7)(ii)(D)
  • Perform an Application and Data Criticality Analysis – 308(a)(7)(ii)(E)

A data backup plan ensures that when disaster strikes, PHI is not lost or destroyed. A viable copy of all ePHI must be created that allows exact copies of ePHI to be restored, which includes all forms of ePHI such as medical records, diagnostic images, test results, case management information, and accounting systems.  It is a good best practice to adopt a 3-2-1 approach for backups: Create three copies of data, store them on at least two different media, and have one copy stored securely offsite. Backups must also be tested to ensure the recovery of data is possible.

A disaster recovery plan should establish the procedures that must be followed to restore access to data, including how files should be restored from backups. A copy of the plan should be readily available and stored in more than one location.

Summary of Key Elements of Contingency Planning

OCR has provided a summary of the key elements of contingency planning:

  • The primary goal is to maintain critical operations and minimize loss.
  • Define time periods – What must be done during the first hour, day, or week?
  • Establish Plan Activation – What event(s) will cause the activation of the contingency plan?  Who has the authority to activate the contingency plan?
  • Ensure the contingency plan can be understood by all types of employees.
  • Communicate and share the plan and roles and responsibilities with the organization.
  • Establish a testing schedule for the plan to identify gaps.
  • Ensure updates for plan effectiveness and increase organizational awareness
  • Review the plan on a regular basis and situationally when there are technical, operational, environmental, or personnel changes in the organization.

How Braver can ensure your Disaster Recovery Plan is HIPAA compliant

With Braver, you can rest assured that your data is safe and secure with our Ready Vault Quickstart: Backup and Recovery Service. Our bullet-proof system not only backs up your data as often as every fifteen minutes but in the event of a server malfunction, it can assume the role of that server, while still performing incremental backups. This means your network is still up while your server is being fixed and parts are being ordered.

To ensure that your data is protected in any disaster, the Ready Vault device encrypts and can archive your data at our off-site data centers incrementally

Please contact us for more information on creating a Disaster Recovery Plan for your business.

Published with permission from HIPAAJournal.com. Source

Ice Ice Baby: Water Damage In The Winter

Unpredictable winter weather can spell trouble for any business. While most businesses have a plan in place for snow removal and working remotely, an often-forgotten issue is winter water damage.

Winter water damage and flooding caused by frozen pipes can impact your office space, and can potentially cause damage to computers and electronics. Even if your business is located on an upper floor, you aren’t always protected. Water damage from a burst pipe can affect every floor of a business.

Here are some tips for handling winter water damage:

1. Prepare and monitor pipes  

It is important to keep a close eye on water pipes throughout the year, especially during cold weather. Be sure to insulate water-carrying pipes in areas that don’t receive heat, and fix any gaps or cracks in your building’s walls.

2. Monitor the temperature  

Keeping your office at a steady temperature can help prevent pipes from freezing. If you have control of your server room’s thermostat, it should be set at a minimum of 55 degrees Fahrenheit. For best practice, we recommend keeping your office at a steady temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Store your PC and server safely  

Storing your PCs and servers correctly can help safeguard against water damage. PCs should be stored under a desk or table. This prevents damage from above. Additionally, storing them a few inches off the ground will keep them elevated from floor level damage.

4. Troubleshoot, repair and replace 

After any damage, a Braver Technology Solutions engineer can immediately evaluate and troubleshoot your equipment to determine if it is salvageable. While we do carry some back up equipment, expect a few days of downtime for us to repair and replace any severely damaged equipment.

For an even faster restore time, our clients have the option to store data offsite with our ReadyVault Offsite service. By storing data offsite in the cloud, your data can be retrieved and restored even if your hardware is damaged

5. File an insurance claim 

If any computers or equipment have been damaged, file a claim with your insurance agent. If you have any questions determining the value of the damaged equipment, a Braver Technology Solutions representative will be happy to help.

For more information on Braver Technology Solutions or to find out more about creating a Disaster Recovery Plan for your business, please contact us.