Fave Raves: Compliance assistance wins over IT pros

IT pros play a vital role in helping their organizations enforce operational policies and abide by industry and government regulations. When we asked IT pros about their favorite products, a number of them cited technologies that help their companies achieve regulatory compliance.

SEE THE RAVES: 20 IT pros name their favorite products

Hardware-based encryption makes it easier to encrypt patient data and comply with the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), noted Dominic Hart, a senior security analyst at Barnabas Health in West Orange, N.J.

"We have nearly 19,000 employees, including 4,600 physicians across six different facilities, so seamless security is a must," Hart said.

His favorite product these days is Wave Systems' Embassy Remote Administration Server (ERAS) software, which he uses to manage self-encrypting hard drives. Barnabas Health recently switched from software-based full disk encryption to the Wave-managed self-encrypting drive solution -- which has zero overhead on performance and quick provisioning times, Hart said. "The Wave-managed self-encrypting drives come pre-installed in our new laptops and can be fully activated within an hour, versus up to 18 hours for software-based encryption," he said.

Medical personnel routinely handle sensitive patient data, including lab results, clinical data, patient medical histories and prescription usage, and the data is often gathered bedside or in the ER, where laptops are brought in via mobile units. "The Wave-managed self-encrypting drives have absolutely reduced the complexity of compliance with HITECH and HIPAA, while also reducing the cost for deploying such advanced security."

Mike Williams, vice president of technology at Credit Union 24 in Tallahassee, Fla., singled out AppRiver's CipherPost email encryption service for its compliance contributions. The service helps Credit Union 24 meet its regulatory compliance requirements, and it works with the company's archiving and e-discovery service, Williams said. "Seamlessly integrated encryption functionality with large attachment support and an amazing Delivery Slip tracking feature make this the easiest buy decision ever," he said.

(How well do you know encryption schemes? Take our quiz)

Kevin Gibson, director of Columbus, Ga.-based Synovus Financial Corp., relies on Trusteer Rapport. The fraud-focused security software is "a key component to our layered approach for controlling online fraud and meeting FFIEC guidelines," Gibson said.

At Christus Health, George Conklin relies on Compuware Gomez for application performance management.

"My IT team supports about 30,000 users (doctors, clinicians, etc.) across the Christus health system who utilize our clinical EHR systems daily and expect those systems to be up and running 24/7, outage-free, to ensure our patients receive the best quality of care," said Conklin, who is senior vice president and CIO of the Houston, Texas, healthcare organization. "If our systems are down, patient care can suffer, and that's unacceptable."

The Compuware Gomez system provides visibility into the end-user experience so IT can proactively find and fix problems before clinicians and patients are impacted, Conklin said. "In one instance, in just a matter of minutes, the Compuware Gomez solution was able to identify a problem with a switch that had obsolete firmware as the cause of application delays that Christus Health had been experiencing for some time. Normally, we would have spent hours, if not days trying to find the problem."

Ann Bednarz covers IT careers, outsourcing and Internet culture for Network World. Follow Ann on Twitter at @annbednarz and check out her blog, Occupational Hazards. Her email address is abednarz@nww.com.

Read more about infrastructure management in Network World's Infrastructure Management section.

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