Windows 7 End of Life HIPAA Compliance Checklist: What to Do to Maintain Compliance When Windows 7 Ends

hipaa compliance checklist

hipaa compliance checklistDo you have your Windows 7 End of Life HIPAA compliance checklist ready? If not, you need to read on because when Windows 7 End of Life occurs, your current HIPAA compliance checklist dies too. What can you do to prepare for this event?

You and other nationwide customers will start having problems with your Windows 7 after January 14, 2020. Technical support will be needed for Microsoft 7 End of Life if you use it for your healthcare organization’s operating system. Windows 10 is the operating system that will be most up to date and still receiving security updates.

Your new Windows 10 operating system will allow you to secure the sensitive health care data that you store. It is vital to write, document, and store for HIPAA compliance. Below you will find information on how to get and use a HIPAA compliance checklist for your updated operating system.

Windows 7 End of Life

Windows 7 End of Life is coming in less than four months, and you need to get prepared for this event if you are going to remain HIPAA compliant. After Windows 7 End of Life event, Microsoft will not service your operating system with any security updates. That means your healthcare data is vulnerable.

If your healthcare data is vulnerable, you are no longer HIPAA compliant, which means you have made a complete circle that leads to a dead end. Your Windows 7 dead end technology circle may lead to major compatibility issues, scheduling software delays, and hackers who can breach your system.

HIPAA Compliance

HIPAA Security Rule 45 C.F.R. § 164.308 (a)(5)(ii)(B) states organizations must implement procedures for detecting, guarding, and reporting malicious software. Healthcare organizations need to be especially concerned because HIPAA is mandatory for them. By running Windows 7 after January 14, 2020, they will not have their software protected from malicious hackers and that will impact their ability to remain compliance with HIPAA.

Not protecting healthcare data software is part of what compromises your cyber security. To become HIPAA compliant, an IT expert needs to get a full breakdown of what the components and data systems your IT network uses. This breakdown is going to be for both Windows 7 End of Life and HIPAA compliance.

The IT team specialist will look at your healthcare strategy and mission to see what system best serves your purpose and security needs. The best operating system and infrastructure is only as good as the people who access and update it behind the scenes. The IT provider selected needs to meet your mission and security needs.

HIPAA Compliance Checklist

These are the six factors you need to address in your HIPAA compliance checklist. You will get assessed in these areas, so you want to make sure the tasks get completed for your Windows 10 upgrade.

  • Security Risk Assessment
  • HITECH Subtitle D Audit
  • Asset and Device Audit
  • Physical Site Audit
  • Privacy Assessment

You also want to make sure you have identified all the gaps or deficiencies in the audited areas listed above. Remember, you have to have the documentation that shows you have done your risk assessments and audits over the past six years. It does not matter if you were using Windows 7 or 10, that task on the HIPAA checklist stays the same.

You also want to come up with an IT plan, which addresses all your gaps and deficiencies in the six areas listed above. Once you come up with the IT plan that addresses the audit gap areas, put it in writing and plan to update it annually.

HIPAA Compliance and Staff Members

It does not matter if you were using Windows 7 or Windows 10, you still need to implement a means of access control. You also need to make sure your staff members undergo their yearly HIPAA training. When you are upgrading your operating system to Windows 10, then you want to make sure you maintain documentation of this training.

You want to make sure the HIPAA training is accessible for audit reviews. If you have a HIPAA compliance officer or staff member, this position needs to be noted as well. Also, you want to make sure the security awareness training is given and recorded in your new Windows 10 upgraded system.

HIPAA Compliance and Emergencies

A contingency plan must be developed, written, and be accessible in your Windows 10 upgraded operating system. The contingency plan must include policies and procedures, which represent your response and any testing you have done for responding to emergencies. Introduce a mechanism to authenticate ePHI for your HIPAA compliance.

This mechanism must include risk analysis on accessing your encrypted ePHI electronic data and if it is appropriate. If your healthcare organization does not deem it appropriate, what is your alternative for the integrity of your ePHI? Your policies and procedures for health information and electronic PHI for disposing of the data have to get written and accessible in your Windows 10 operating system.

The disposal process applies to PHI that is unreadable or any ePHI not needed due to end of life terms.

HIPAA Management and Control Systems

Implement tools for encryption and decryption for your HIPAA requirements is needed. These tools also mean you need to assign unique usernames and numbers to any person who can access ePHI electronic files. Are your policies and procedures accessible with your Windows 10 operating system upgrade?

Are the ePHI folders stored on your electronic devices secure until they are disposed of using HIPAA protocol?

HIPAA Checklist Final Steps

Facilitate automatic log-off procedures for all PCs and devices. Your notice of privacy practices is still mandated by HIPAA compliance checklist no matter what operating system you are using. Remember to identify your vendors and business associate and have your BAA’s in place with them.

Your last item on your HIPAA checklist is one of your most important. You must have a defined process for your security incidents and data breaches. An IT expert can help you track and manage investigations of all incidents.

Work With Your IT Expert

You can work through your IT expert to develop your reporting system for data breaches. What is more, your IT expert can guide you on how to be prepared for developing and maintaining all your HIPAA compliance checklist items.

Your new operating system upgrade will not be stressful or overwhelming if you work with the right IT expert. Accessing management infrastructure for HIPAA is a process that is easy to implement with IT expert assistance. When you are ready to meet HIPAA compliance, then you need an effective and efficient system and process.

Managed IT services provide you with easy and responsive operating systems and software for HIPAA roadmap remedies. If you want to learn more about getting started reach out to us today for expert assistance.

Sagacent Technologies offers technology management and support, including proactive/preventative maintenance, onsite and offsite data back-ups, network and security audits, mobility solutions, disaster planning and emergency business resumption services. The company serves clients of 10 to 150 employees within the Silicon Valley region.