HHS Cyber Initiative: Essential Email Security Goals for Healthcare Businesses

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced a new cybersecurity initiative outlining specific goals for healthcare organizations. One of the most crucial aspects of this initiative focuses on email security, emphasizing the need to reduce risks from common email-based threats like spoofing, phishing, and fraud.

As a healthcare business owner, understanding these goals and their implications is critical to ensuring the security of your patients' data and safeguarding your business against costly cyberattacks. Let's delve into the essential email security goals outlined by the HHS and explore their impact on your operations.

Implement Protections Against Data Leaks

The HHS initiative emphasizes the importance of implementing robust email security systems that prevent unauthorized access to sensitive patient information. This includes measures like:

  • Email encryption: Encrypting emails in transit and at rest protects data even if intercepted during delivery or stored on compromised servers.
  • Data loss prevention (DLP): DLP technology monitors and restricts the transfer of sensitive information via email, preventing accidental or malicious leaks.
  • Email filtering: Employing advanced email filtering solutions that identify and quarantine suspicious emails, including phishing attempts and malware-laden messages.
Authenticate Users, Devices, and Assets

The initiative also calls for implementing strong authentication protocols to verify the identity of users, devices, and other assets accessing your email system. This involves:

  • Multi-factor authentication (MFA): Implementing MFA for email access adds an extra layer of security beyond passwords, requiring additional factors like a code from a phone or fingerprint scan for login.
  • Device authentication: Implementing policies and technologies to authenticate authorized devices accessing your email system, preventing unauthorized access from personal or compromised devices.
  • Identity and access management (IAM): Establishing clear roles and permissions for users within your email system, ensuring only authorized personnel have access to sensitive information.
Protect Communications and Control Networks

The HHS initiative highlights the need to secure the underlying infrastructure supporting your email system. This includes:

  • Network segmentation: Segmenting your network to isolate critical email servers and data from other systems, minimizing the impact of a potential breach.
  • Regular patching and updates: Ensuring all email software and related systems are updated regularly with the latest security patches to address vulnerabilities exploited by attackers.
  • Security monitoring and incident response: Implementing robust monitoring systems to detect suspicious activity and a well-defined incident response plan to effectively mitigate any security breaches.
HICP Practices and Expected Outcomes

The HHS initiative recommends adopting Health Information Communication Technology (HICP) practices specifically designed for healthcare email security. These practices aim to mitigate threats like ransomware and phishing attacks through email protection systems. By implementing these practices, healthcare businesses can expect to achieve the desired outcomes outlined by the HHS, including:

  • Reduced risk of data breaches and unauthorized access to patient information.
  • Enhanced user and device security, minimizing the potential for compromised accounts.
  • Improved network security and resilience against cyberattacks.


Vector Choice is here to assist your business with the necessary implementation of security measures to ensure your email security is safeguarded against cyberattacks. Contact us today to learn more!