Is AWS HIPAA Compliant?

According to HIMSS Analytics, 83% of IT executives in healthcare report using cloud services. It’s estimated that healthcare organizations invested $13.6 billion into cloud technology between 2018 and 2019. Considering the industry, there is great concern over data protection, cloud security, and HIPAA compliance when it comes to cloud healthcare technologies. In the event of a data breach or hack, hundreds if not thousands of patient’s sensitive information may be accessible to absolutely anyone looking for it. Additionally, careless cloud maintenance may lead to HIPAA violations and penalties down the line. For these reasons, healthcare organizations must choose cloud software that is both secure and HIPAA compliant. Amazon’s services are popular amongst healthcare providers, and many are concerned whether or not AWS is HIPAA compliant.

How to Ensure Your Cloud Is HIPAA Compliant

AWS conducts a Business Associate Agreement with every healthcare organization that uses AWS. This agreement, referred to as BAA, states that Amazon agrees to comply with the rules and regulations outlined by HIPAA.

It must be clear to each healthcare organization that the BAA enforces joint liability when it comes to maintaining a HIPAA compliant cloud. While AWS admits full responsibility for the security of their networks, each healthcare organization must also do its part to maintain compliance and security over apps and operating systems.

To show its dedication to healthcare compliance, Amazon released a 61-paged document in late 2020 detailing the ways they are configuring all AWS services for maximum security and HIPAA compliance.

Additionally, AWS Marketplace features special applications that healthcare organizations may utilize to help expedite HIPAA processes or ensure further security.

Correctly Configuring Cloud Settings

In some cases, the cloud setup is misconfigured and security, as well as compliance, is compromised. As previously mentioned, the healthcare industry stores data that is highly sensitive and contains private information regarding an individual’s health. Misconfigruing vital cloud settings may expose the site to hackers, thus violating HIPAA compliance.

When an organization makes a mistake in its setup, a security researcher from AWS may contact the organization with a warning regarding its vulnerability. However, it is also possible that a hacker beats the AWS security researcher to the punch. For this reason, healthcare organizations must hire a cloud technologies company to correctly set up and maintain a HIPAA-compliant cloud service.

Conclusion: Is AWS HIPAA Compliant?

Is AWS HIPAA Compliant? Yes, unless something is misconfigured in its setup. It is the responsibility of both AWS and the healthcare organization to remain both secure and HIPAA compliant in their own right.
In short, just because your AWS cloud is HIPAA compliant does not mean that your entire healthcare organization is also HIPAA compliant. While AWS ensures your cloud is secure, it is up to the healthcare organization to ensure all other aspects of the business are HIPAA compliant.

Need help migrating your healthcare organization onto the cloud? Contact Cloud Let’s Go today: (612) 440-1157.