JSCAPE is pleased to announce the release of JSCAPE MFT Server 8.1. This highly anticipated release contains several performance enhancements, new features and bug fixes.
Managed File Transfer and Network Solutions
In this post, we'll be talking about the specific standards that lead to HIPAA compliant file transfers. This is a continuation of another post, so if you haven't read Part I yet, you might want to click that link first.
HIPAA standards affecting file transfers
As shown in our previous post, the HIPAA standards that impact file transfer systems can be found in the Technical Safeguards of the Security Rule. The Security Rule is documented in 45 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) Part 160 and Part 164, Subparts A and C, with the Technical Safeguards themselves specifically found in section 164.312.
The standards that fall under Technical Safeguards as well as the specific sections that contain their definitions and corresponding requirements include the following:
Access Control (§ 164.312(a)(1)) - Covered entities must implement technical policies and procedures for electronic information systems that maintain ePHI to allow access only to those persons or software programs that have been granted sufficient access rights.
Audit Controls (§ 164.312(b)) - Covered entities must implement hardware, software, and procedural mechanisms that record and examine activity in information systems that contain or use ePHI.
Integrity (§ 164.312(c)(1)) - Covered entities must implement policies and procedures to protect ePHI from improper alteration or destruction.
Person or Entity Authentication (§ 164.312(d)) - Covered entities must implement procedures to verify that a person or entity seeking access to ePHI is the one claimed.
Transmission Security (§ 164.312(e)(1)) - Covered entities must implement technical security measures to guard against unauthorized access to ePHI that is being transmitted over an electronic communications network.
Each of these standards come with a set of instructions for implementing them known as Implementation Specifications. An Implementation Specification is classified either as Required or Addressable.
If an implementation specification is Required, then you will have to implement policies and procedures that would satisfy that particular implementation specification. On the other hand, if it is Addressable, then you will have to analyze the specification to determine whether it is reasonable and appropriate in protecting your ePHI data from possible threats and hazards.
If, based on your analysis, you decide that it is not necessary to implement the implementation specification, you must document the reason for your decision. In addition, if in the course of your analysis, you come across a reasonable and appropriate alternative measure, then you must implement that measure.
Let's now take a quick look at each standard's implementation specifications and discuss how such specifications may be implemented on your file transfer system.
Unique User Identification (Required) - People who use your file transfer service should be assigned a unique user identifier like a username or a number. This will help you track each user's activity when the user is logged into your system. It will also help you in holding that user accountable for functions he performs while logged in.
Emergency Access Procedure (Required) - You must have in place procedures that will allow you to obtain the ePHI found in your system in the event of an emergency situation wherein your file transfer system is rendered inoperative.
Automatic Logoff (Addressable) - Your system must be capable of terminating a session after a predetermined period of inactivity is reached. Users sometimes forget to logoff after completing a file transfer, leaving your system vulnerable to unauthorized entry. An automatic logoff feature will prevent unauthorized users from gaining access that way.
Encryption and Decryption (Addressable) - This may refer to ePHI data stored in directories on your file transfer server. By encrypting ePHI data found there, you can render those data useless to unauthorized personnel. Even when an unauthorized person gains access to those encrypted data, he won't be able to make heads or tails out of them.
Audit Controls (Required)
You must have a way of keeping logs of user or system activity during each file transfer session. This will enable you to have an audit trail to refer to in the future if you want to trace certain events that took place in your file transfer system.
Mechanism to Authenticate ePHI (Addressable) - The integrity of ePHI data should be preserved at all times. Improperly altered or destroyed ePHI can put patients' safety at risk. Because unauthorized data changes can be caused by a variety of reasons ranging from human errors to electronic failures, your file transfer system should have a mechanism that will enable you to check whether your ePHI data has undergone any unauthorized changes.
Person or Entity Authentication (Required)
Your system must have a way of knowing whether a person who wants to gain access to it is in fact the person he or she claims to be. The most common methods of authentication typically require users to present a proof of identity such as a password, PIN, smart card, token, key, or biometrics.
Integrity Controls (Addressable) - This is similar to the Integrity standard discussed earlier. The only difference is that the previous discussion was focused on data at rest, e.g. ePHI stored in your FTP server hard disks, while this one here is aimed at data in motion, i.e., ePHI being transmitted over a network. So, for example, your system must support network communications protocols that ensure that data sent is the same as data received.
Encryption (Addressable) - Again, this is similar to the Encryption/Decryption implementation specification under the Access Control standard, except that this one refers to data in motion. So for example, your file transfer system should support file transfer protocols like FTPS or SFTP.
So there you have it. Those are the standards and implementation specifications of the HIPAA regulation that impact file transfer systems. You're now ready for the last part of this article. That's where we'll discuss the steps to achieve HIPAA compliant file transfers.
For some entities in the health care industry, file transfer activities are no longer as simple as before. Measures have to be taken to make sure violations aren't made against HIPAA. FTP services, perhaps the most widely used services for transferring large files over the Internet, now require enhancements to ensure that data considered as electronic protected health information (ePHI) are protected throughout an FTP transfer.
Perhaps the most common protocols used in file transfer today are FTP, FTPS and SFTP. While the acronyms for these protocols are similar, there are some key differences among them, in particular how data are exchanged, the level of security provided and firewall considerations. Learning these key differences can help you when choosing a file transfer protocol or troubleshooting common connection issues.
Getting validation for an email address using JSCAPE's Secure iNet Factory library is a lot easier than getting personal validation (although let me say right now, dear Reader, that I think you're smart to learn more about the EmailInspector class, and you're all right with me!). The EmailInspector class has four levels of validation and you can give a submitted email address only as much scrutiny as it needs. In each case, the EmailInspector returns true if the address passes validation, and throws an exception if it does not.
Topics: Secure iNet Factory
Email messages are made of required parts, such as the bunch-of-exclamation-marks part ["HOO!!!!!!!"], the emoticon part [;-)], and the abbreviations part [ROTFL]. All emails are required to contain these parts (at least, all the emails I get have them), as well as other parts such as the Subject, the From, the To and the Body. The JSCAPE Secure iNet Factory library lets you use Post Office Protocol 3 (POP3) to write a client program that will retrieve your email and look at the parts. (That is, the parts in the second list!!!!!!! LMAO :-)).
Topics: Secure iNet Factory
This is Part 3 of a 3-part blog post showing how to set up a Linux FTP Server. Let's recap what we've accomplished so far. In Part 1, you learned how to install the JSCAPE MFT Server on a Linux server. Then in Part 2, you learned how to install its admin tool, known as the JSCAPE MFT Server Manager, on a Mac. Here in our last installment, we'll teach you how to activate an FTP service on your managed file transfer Linux server using that admin tool.
For those who landed on this page via the search engines, this post is a continuation of our article re Setting up a Linux FTP Server. I suggest you read Part 1 first if you haven't done that yet.
In this post, I'll show you how easy it is to set up a Linux FTP Server using JSCAPE MFT Server. One advantage of using a Java FTP server like JSCAPE MFT Server is that it can run on virtually any platform; be it Windows, Mac OS X or Linux. All you need is a Java installation and you can already provide fast and secure file transfer services.