Amazon and more

Today is going to be a bit of a mash-up. We’re going to discuss Amazon’s new Sidewalk feature, an update on ransomware attacks, a comment on the HHS/OCR announcement on gender inclusion, and a COVID19 safety product you may need. Let’s get started.

Have you heard of Amazon Sidewalk? Well, you will. In June (maybe sooner for Alexa users), you’re going to have a new feature on your networked devices that allows them to share bandwidth with other devices – including your neighbors. In other words, to make it easier for you to stroll around your yard, or further, Amazon will use your neighbor’s WiFi to help keep you streaming and shopping. How convenient, right? As a security and compliance professional, this makes the hair on my neck stand up, and it should yours as well. Amazon can assure us it’s secure, but that teenage kid in the hoodie next door may soon be watching your banking transactions. You’re going to have to manually turn it off in the Alexa app to disable it. I wonder what Google is up to with their devices?Neighbors Wifi Sharing

In case you haven’t heard (or read last week’s reminder), Scripps Medical Center was recently hit with a ransomware attack that has crippled operations. While Scripps may get the headlines, dozens of small practices are closing their doors due to attacks. That’s right, the hits keep coming when it comes to ransomware, and we’re not winning. The best defense you have is to train your staff and run tests on your network to ensure your IT is on top of things and you aren’t an easy target. We can help with this, by the way, it’s what we do.

HHS/OCR Announcement
This week the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) aka the HIPAA police, sent out an announcement stating that Sex Discrimination includes gender identity and sexual orientation. They cite 25% of the LGBTQ community has faced discrimination and as a result has postponed or avoided receiving medical care. The take-away from this announcement is you better have a game plan in place for a patient who presents with such a circumstance. We suggest a written policy distributed to your workforce to prevent running afoul of this area of enforcement.

Back to work we go! Well, apparently not according to the recent job report, but be that as it may, things are returning to normal. As this change takes place, employers are taking on a new risk with employees returning to work. To help manage that risk, and to help your workforce stay healthy, we partnered with a group of Hollywood professionals to produce a video training series. The courses are entertaining and informative and they demonstrate your commitment to maintaining a safe work environment. It’s an inexpensive step to take in your risk management efforts. Check it out at Readers of our reminders can get an additional 10% off by entering COVID10OFF in the discount section.

Think before you click!

Thank you for reading. 

Jeff Mongelli

If you have any questions or if you are concerned about your organization’s cybersecurity, give us a call at (800) 970-0402. We’ll be happy to help.

For more HIPAA information, download our ebook – The Ultimate HIPAA Compliance Handbook.

The HIPAA Security Rule requires the implementation of a security awareness and training program for all members of its workforce (including management). Have your team sign up for a weekly HIPAA Security Reminder to help stay compliant.