What Is a HIPAA Security Analyst?
HIPAA is an acronym for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. The act was designed to enable consumers in maintaining health insurance portability and process simplification. HIPAA also protects patients' confidential medical records. HIPAA security analysts are directly responsible for ensuring complete HIPAA compliance in a medical facility as well as in health insurance carriers. These analysts' job duties are similar to those of information security analysts but focused squarely on health insurance and medical data protection measures in networks. Information security directives are mandated by HIPAA, and security analysts monitor, track, implement, and enforce these federal regulations. They create HIPAA action plans and implement and monitor these plans to ensure compliance. They assume direct responsibility for the integrity of an organization's information systems and are involved in analyzing existing security measures through testing. Analysts perform risk assessments and analysis to identify potential vulnerabilities in the network and work to resolve them such that they meet with HIPAA standards. It is crucial that HIPPA security analysts possess expert knowledge of all HIPAA regulations as well as current and emergent trends in information security.
Risk management and mitigation are crucial components of the HIPAA security analyst's duties. They work to track, identify, and resolve issues with risk reduction as the primary goal. Analysts implement formal risk analysis and risk mitigation processes and self-assessments targeted at existing policies and procedures for HIPAA compliance. They train and mentor an organization's staff with regard to HIPAA regulations and security protocols both for the information systems network as well as best practices for staff handling of confidential information. These security analysts also communicate with other security analysts as well as vendors to accomplish optimal system security. Analysts work diligently to institute preventative and detection methods in an organization's system to guard against system breaches.
|Educational Requirements||Bachelor's degree; professional security management certification is usually preferred by employers|
|Job Skills||Expert knowledge of HIPAA regulations, excellent network security knowledge, strong communication, mentoring and training, problem-solving, risk analysis and mitigation|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$98,350 (information security analysts)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)*||28% (information security analysts)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Information security analysts are required to possess a bachelor's degree. Some employers prefer additional graduate-level coursework. Employers usually require prior work experience in information security. CISSP or CISA security management certification is also highly preferred by some employers.
Expert knowledge of HIPAA regulations and guidelines are crucial for analysts because HIPAA security analysts are directly responsible for all of an organization's HIPAA procedures, policies, and security measures for mitigating risk for both users and the organization. Failure to meet HIPAA stipulations can result in severe repercussions for the organization, so the analyst must be ever vigilant that the organization is meeting all HIPAA requirements to the letter. Analysts' knowledge of network and computer network security be excellent as they must monitor the network for any and all possible threats and potential security breaches and implement both detection and preventative measures to reduce risk. Strong communication skills are absolutely essential for the HIPAA security analyst because they prepare and deliver reports to staff and management concerning security measures and overall HIPAA compliance. They also must possess excellent teaching and mentoring skills to ensure that staff and management are well trained in HIPAA compliance procedures and regulations.
Career Outlook and Salary
The career outlook during the 2016-2026 decade for information security analysts, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), is 28% job growth. The BLS reported that this figure represents a much faster than average increase compared to all other occupations. In May 2018, the BLS reported that the annual median salary for information security analysts was $98,350.
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