What Access Control Options Can Keep Your Business’s Confidential Records Secure?

Whether you own a medical practice, an independent insurance agency, or a local investment firm, you and your staff members deal with a wide range of solicited (and even unsolicited) confidential client information on a daily basis.

Even in an increasingly digital age, keeping your physical records secure remains crucial. With the advent of laws like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and other federal regulations, failing to safeguard information like Social Security numbers, health histories, and credit card numbers could not only harm your reputation in the community, but can also subject you to civil penalties and monetary damages.   

Read on to learn about the importance of access control for businesses that house confidential client information, as well as some of the security options that will keep this information from falling into the wrong hands.

What Personal Information Must Be Safeguarded?

Certain industries and sectors are more stringent than others, and information considered proprietary and confidential in one context (like an individual’s salary) may be public information in another.

However, some information is considered confidential under almost all circumstances. This includes:

  • Social Security numbers;

  • Birth dates;

  • Veteran or disability status;

  • Health information (including everything from allergies to medications to prior surgical history);

  • Citizenship status;

  • Location of financial assets (like account information or account numbers); and

  • Student grades.

If you keep any of this information in physical files in your office, you’ll want to take some extra steps to ensure this data is not accessible to the public or to employees who may not have the training or discretion to keep this information confidential.

What Access Control Options Provide The Most Security?

Your first steps in designing a workable access control solution for your office should be to determine what information you have and who should be able to access each type of information. You may find that there is very little overlap between some of the roles in your office, making it easier to create clear lines of access.

For example, in a medical office context, your billing clerk may need access to patient financial information, while your nurse practitioner will need the medical file; however, your billing clerk has no need to see the patient’s health history, nor does the nurse practitioner need his or her Social Security number or credit card information.

Creating these lines of access will make it much easier to implement a solution (and identify any leaks when or if they do take place). You may need to “split” some of the physical files you have, keeping financial and personal identifying information separate from health or disability information.

Once you’ve identified the information you need to keep secure and the individuals who should be granted access, you’ll be able to install some access control measures to prevent unauthorized viewing or copying of files.

One of the easiest access control methods is the employee badge paired with an electronic locking system. Each badge is encoded with a unique identifier and can be programmed to open certain locked doors or even filing cabinets.

Restricting access to a certain individual can be as easy as changing the settings in your security server; you may even be able to include time settings to prohibit after-hours access from employees who are normally empowered to view certain files.

If an attempted breach of these security measures occurs, you’ll receive a report of the incident; this report can indicate which badge holder was responsible for the attempt to gain access, making your investigatory and disciplinary process much simpler.

By doing a bit of preliminary planning before contacting a security company, you’ll be in a better position to ensure your access control needs are fully met.

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