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AlertBoot offers a cloud-based full disk encryption and mobile device security service for companies of any size who want a scalable and easy-to-deploy solution. Centrally managed through a web based console, AlertBoot offers mobile device management, mobile antivirus, remote wipe & lock, device auditing, USB drive and hard disk encryption managed services.

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AlertBoot offers a cloud-based full disk encryption and mobile device security service for companies of any size who want a scalable and easy-to-deploy solution. Centrally managed through a web based console, AlertBoot offers mobile device management, mobile antivirus, remote wipe & lock, device auditing, USB drive and hard disk encryption managed services.

HIPAA Computer Encryption: NYU Langone Medical Notifies 8,400 Of Desktop Computer Theft

NYU Langone Medical Center is embroiled in a data breach, its second in approximately one year.  According to the medical center's press release, a desktop computer, which was not protected with data encryption software like AlertBoot, was stolen on May 23 from the office of the chair of the Department of Neurosurgery.

Approximately 8,400 Affected

The stolen computer contained data on 8,400 patients.  Social Security numbers for 5,000 patients were compromised, and other patient data included names, addresses, dates of birth, telephones numbers, insurance information, and clinical information related to physician visits.

Instead of encryption software, password-protection was used to "protect" the data.  NYU's press release notes that "additional software would be needed to retrieve any data files," although it has not commented on the nature of this mystery software.

This is not the first time NYU Langone has been affected by a PHI breach.  Based on this blog's history, the medical center also had a data breach last year, when 670 patients were alerted of a data breach.  Encryption software was not used at the time, either.

Medical Data Security: Encryption Pretty Good at Stopping Breaches

An analysis of all the medical data breaches reported to the HHS (Department of Health and Human Services) shows that the loss and theft of digital devices that contained PHI -- such as laptops, external hard disks, desktop computers, etc. -- account for well over half of all data breaches at HIPAA-covered entities.  Full disk encryption is a very efficient at preventing these types of information security incidents.

And, of course, HITECH's Breach Notification Rule provides safe harbor from reporting data breaches if strong encryption was used to protect patients' sensitive medical information.

After NYU's situation last year, one would assume that devices would have been encrypted by now, but apparently not.


Related Articles and Sites:
http://www.med.nyu.edu/about-us/potential-data-breach-7-23-2012

 
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About sang_lee

Sang Lee is a Senior Account Manager and Security Analyst with AlertBoot, Inc., the leading provider of managed endpoint security services, based in Las Vegas, NV. Mr. Lee helps with the deployment and ongoing support of the AlertBoot disk encryption managed service. Prior to working at AlertBoot, Mr. Lee served in the South Korean Navy. He holds both a B.S. and an M.S. from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, U.S.A.