The first time you read about HIPAA, it was probably in some dull compliance course. But now that the Affordable Care Act has made health insurance more accessible for people with preexisting conditions, there’s a lot of new data on your website that needs to be protected.
So where do you host your business data? One of our best options is by utilizing HIPAA compliant hosting providers that can ensure that your data stays safe when handling patient information like name, address, date of birth etc. We’ll take a look into the top HIPPA compliant hosting providers in the industry below.
What is HIPAA? And What is HIPAA Compliant Hosting?
According to Wikipedia:
“The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA is a United States federal statute enacted by the 104th United States Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton on August 21, 1996. It was created to modernize the flow of healthcare information, stipulate how personally identifiable information maintained by the healthcare and healthcare insurance industries should be protected from fraud and theft, and address limitations on healthcare insurance coverage”
The simple way to explain HIPAA is that it is a set of strict regulations to which online health organizations and companies must adhere to, and which requires them to store personal health data with the utmost care, diligence and security.
HIPAA compliant hosting services are those providers that offer superior online and offline protection of this sensitive info.
To be labeled HIPAA compliant, a host must:
- Limit access to servers and facilities that store them (only authorized personnel allowed).
- Maintain records of hardware and software activity.
- Prevent access to ePHI (electronic personal health information) with administrative, technical and physical safeguards;
- Strictly uphold policies in regards to accessing electronic media and workstations.
- Have absolute network security + a contingency plan in case of accidents and data breaches.
There’s a lot of work for a host to do to become and stay HIPAA compliant, and that’s why most hosting services don’t want to go through the hassle.
The ones you’ll find below did and now have impeccable HIPAA compliance.
These are the Top 6 HIPAA Compliant Hosts- Host With Them and Your Data Will Be Safe
In 2018, HIPAA violations and improper data storage cost healthcare organizations more than $28 million.
Anthem, one of the largest U.S. health insurance companies, settled for a huge $16 million payment after a massive data breach that had hackers steal the sensitive medical information of millions of people.
And in 2021 the situation is only slightly better with one company (Lifetime Healthcare Companies) paying $5.1 million in fines for a breach that had compromised the info of 9.3 million patients.
They made some costly mistakes, but you can avoid making those.
Hosting with a HIPAA compliant host is the best way to secure sensitive data and have peace of mind.
Do it with the hosts below, as I curated the 6 best ones for you.
Atlantic.net is a web hosting veteran specialized in offering ultra secure and compliance-oriented hosting.
They passed all tests with flying colors.
This hosting company offers both managed and unmanaged dedicated servers, and, through different solutions, the commonality between the two is that they’re both fully HIPAA compliant.
Atlantic.net managed and unmanaged dedicated server plans come with protection mechanisms like firewalls, multi factor authentication, encrypted VPN’s, offsite backups, extra physical security…
Their hosting plans are an excellent choice to have peace of mind, and they also come with a 100% uptime guarantee in place.
Try Atlantic.net today!
#2- Liquid Web
Similar to Atlantic.net, Liquid Web isn’t just a vendor of HIPAA compliant web hosting. In fact, they’re far better known for their superior WordPress-managed hosting.
Still, their HIPAA compliant hosting is top notch and if you chose to host with them, you won’t be making a mistake.
With Liquid Web HIPAA solution you get fully managed servers, locked server cabinets with extra muscle guarding those, associate agreements, full backup, stringent firewalls, data recovery protocols…
Also, Liquid Web’s HIPAA compliance claims are regularly tested and have so far proven to be true.
Liquid Web HIPAA hosting is a way to HIPAA-proof your site.
Besides managed hosting, you can also work with them on an individual basis and develop a custom solution to suit your organization’s HIPAA hosting needs.
With every plan, you get full support 24/7. They even pride themselves on their less-than-a-minute reply rate.
Try Liquid Web today!
Similar to Atlantic.net, Rackspace is also a reputable and old host (founded in1990) that puts a lot of emphasis on healthcare compliance of their hosting.
They are one of the rare cloud hosting providers to have received the HITRUST CSF (security framework tailored to compliance-sensitive organizations) certification. Having this certification guarantees full HIPAA compliance of their hosting solutions.
Once you pick a plan and get going, Rackspace provides 24/7 security, network security, and database management.
It’s a managed cloud HIPAA compliant hosting that takes away the hassle of having to set up everything by yourself and possibly (and probably) making a mistake.
As a paying customer, you also get access to their top tier support also called “fanatical support”.
Try Rackspace today!
#4- Amazon Web Services
Amazon Web Services (AWS) are one of the most popular options on the market, with clients including behemoth companies like Siemens, Phillips, and Bristol-Myers Squibb.
Health organizations and health providers can use AWS’s cloud environment to store, maintain, and transmit sensitive PHI (patient health information) data without worrying about data leakage or security breaches.
AWS’s HIPAA compliant hosting conforms with FedRAMP and NIST 800-53 (these are security standards aligned with HIPAA) and having these valid certificates guarantees total data safety and server security.
Another point in AWS’s favor is unlimited scalability.
Because they’re Amazon, they have unlimited resources at their disposal, and health sites can store limitless data on their secured servers. There is no upper limit as to how much a site can grow when hosted on AWS.
The con to AWS is that the system is complicated. It’s easy to make a mistake (most businesses do) and operate while being non HIPAA compliant, even though all the time you think you are.
Also, their support service is surprisingly underdeveloped considering their brand’s size, number of clients, and constant and aggressive market expansion.
If you pick to go with AWS, I strongly suggest you hire a pro to configure your server to be HIPAA compliant.
It’s worth the hassle and extra cost because it’s super easy to misconfigure them and put your business at risk of huge fines.
The alternative to this is to still go with AWS but via the middleman such as Cloudways.
Let them configure your server and you just pay slightly more for their services.
Try Amazon Web Services today!
#5- Microsoft Azure
Microsoft Azure is a relatively young host, having started only in 2010.
However, due to the immense backing from its parent company Microsoft, it has quickly risen to become the major competitor of AWS and hosting with Azure can help health organizations reach and maintain the mandatory HIPAA compliance.
Microsoft Azure is a cloud service that can serve as a perfect solution for IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service), PaaS (platform as a service), SaaS (software-as-a-service).
Their cloud hosting services are regularly independently tested and audited and have received the ISO/IEC 27001 certification from independent auditors.
To you, it’s definitive proof that your patient’s data will be safe if hosted on the Azure servers.
Their cloud services are also fully covered by FedRAMP assessments, and finally,
Microsoft has also developed their custom HIPAA/HITRUST Blueprint to aid healthcare organizations hosting with them in achieving and maintaining their HIPAA compliance.
Try Microsoft Azure!
#6- Hipaa Vault
HIPAA Vault is a hosting provider that specializes in offering HIPAA-compliant hosting.
They are one of the best HIPAA compliant cloud solutions on the market, built to enable business organizations, government agencies, and healthcare providers to secure and protect sensitive data from hackers, digital brokers, malware, and all other security vulnerabilities.
At the core of their business is their managed solutions architecture that comes included with every hosting plan and ensures all data stored on their servers is firewalled from the rest of the web and other servers, safe and encrypted, backed up, and physically protected at all time
In other words, hosting with HIPAA-Vault will make your organization HIPAA compliant and protect you from getting fined.
Besides the protective measure mentioned above, HIPAA Vault’s managed services include a guaranteed 15m or less help from their dedicated support team.
Support is available via phone, email, and chat.
Try HIPAA Vault today!
Top HIPAA Compliant Hosting FAQ- Your Questions Answered!
I searched through Quora and forums looking for questions people ask about top HIPAA compliant hosting services.
The questions below tended to pop over and over, so I answered them here.
If I missed your question, tell me about it in the comment section below.
#1- Why are HIPAA-Compliant Hosting Plans So Expensive?
HIPAA compliant hosting plans are expensive because it takes a lot of work for a host to become compliant with the strict HIPAA regulations.
Not only do the hosts in question need to severely tighten up security and even hire (and further train) additional guards and personnel to monitor and handle their servers;
but they also need to pay for expensive third party certificates and regular auditing.
This all costs a lot of money and it’s reflected in the final price for the potential customer.
#2- Are All Hosts HIPAA Compliant?
No, not all hosts are HIPAA compliant. In fact, most of them aren’t because it’s expensive to be HIPAA compliant. And because the market size is probably not that large.
I mean, the only ones looking for HIPAA compliant hosting providers are companies and health organizations who must store their patient’s data safely.
The market is not that large.
#3- Is GoDaddy HIPAA Compliant?
GoDaddy provides a variety of services, including domain name registration and management, website hosting, and email management.
Their web hosting services are not HIPAA compliant, but Godaddy’s Microsoft 365 email service is.
Basically, you can exchange sensitive patient data via email, but you can’t store said data on GoDaddy servers, especially shared hosting servers used by hundreds of other websites at a time, and which are easy to hack into.
#4- Is HostGator HIPAA Compliant?
HostGator are not a HIPAA compliant host, and they clearly don’t want your business.
They even have a page dedicated to explaining how they’re not HIPAA compliant and anyone hosting data on their servers is solely responsible for the safety of said data.
#5- Is Buying a HIPAA Compliant Hosting All I Need to be Safe?
Ah, if only it were that easy.
It’s not enough to just buy a hosting plan from a provider who says they’re HIPAA compliant and be done with it.
The thing is, there are no official benchmarks that must be reached in order to reach HIPAA compliance.
The solution here is to get a plan from a host who went through rigorous third-party testing and got a pass from all of them.
And they have valid and current certificates to prove it.
Also, it’s not all about what a host does to protect data. It is possible to buy an excellent, super safe hosting plan and then miss configure the settings and make it not comply with HIPAA.
For example, it happens so much with AWS they had to send warnings to users whom they suspect have configured their servers wrong.
#6- Should I Use HIPAA Compliant Email Provider?
According to HIPAA Journal:
“HIPAA-covered entities must ensure protected health information (PHI) transmitted by email is secured to prevent unauthorized individuals from intercepting messages, ”
You heard it from the horse’s mouth. If you’re going to send ANY sensitive data via email, it must be encrypted and unbreachable or you could land in big trouble.
Better safe and so and the good news is there are many reliable email hosting providers that are also HIPAA compliant.
And before you ask, GMail is not HIPAA compliant as they encrypt only the messages that have arrived but not while they’re in transit and thus can be easily intercepted.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
The cost of doing business with a web hosting provider who provides HIPAA compliant servers is worth the peace of mind you get knowing that your data will be safe. No more worrying about fines, prosecution, or worse for trying to do right by customers and employees. With so many options out there, it can feel overwhelming to figure out which one is best for you. Fortunately, we’ve done all the research for you- just pick from the list of 6 top HIPPA compliant hosting providers we mentioned!
So what are you waiting for?