How to Ensure Data Security While Using Transcription Services for Your Business?


How to Ensure Data Security While Using Transcription Services for Your Business?
Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy

7/8/2021

Last year, the FBI reported a 400% upsurge in data breaches, and cyber-security threats can impact any business, including the transcription sector. In 2014, about 15,000 patients’ data from Boston Medical Center was breached through a transcription firm's poorly secured website. Therefore, before using transcription services, you should ensure your account information and files are secure. The information you’re converting to text, be it a courtroom or deposition recording, may be sensitive. A secure and legitimate transcription firm should ideally provide the following key data security and confidentiality guarantees:

1. Signing Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA)

Any transcription firm that takes data security seriously should be ready to sign NDAs. Agreeing to an NDA indicates that your provider has implemented reasonable measures to guard your audio and text files. All their employees involved in transcribing or handling your files should also be willing to sign confidentiality agreements. Not doing so indicates that the transcription provider lacks credibility.

The organization should implement staff compliance with confidentiality agreements and also conduct cybersecurity best practice training to help their employees adhere to data privacy rules. Staff vetting and regular assessments can help guarantee that all transcriptionists understand the dos and don’ts of protecting sensitive customer data. 

2. ISO 27001 Accreditation

ISO 27001 provides the maximum standards to manage information security. Therefore, you can rely on an organization that has this certification. Being certified indicates that the firm strictly follows the standard to protect sensitive personal data from multiple cyber threats. Similarly, the provider is subject to continuous data security audits and monitoring to ensure 100% compliance.

3. GDPR Compliance

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has provided several personal data security measures that companies with European-based customers must implement. If you work with European businesses, then you should enlist a GDPR-compliant transcription service. You can avoid many legal and compliance hassles by ensuring that any third parties handling your sensitive customer data adhere to GDPR requirements. Companies with GDPR compliance can legally tackle the situation if your data is mishandled, making such organizations more trustworthy.

4. Device Security

When searching for a secure transcription provider, always assess their specific cybersecurity measures. A provider that complies with the various data protection regulations, including GDPR, must guarantee maximum device security. They should ensure that all their employees use secure laptops or mobile devices to access office IT networks.

The machines used by transcriptionists to complete their official tasks should have end-point protection to prevent common cyber attacks. In compliance with ISO 27001, your provider should keep track of all devices that employees use to do official work. IT security managers or administrators should also monitor device usage and audit access logs. Any security incident should be reported and acted upon to protect customer data. Your provider should also have a robust strategy to maximize device security.

5. Data Security Features or Configurations

Compliance with GDPR and ISO 27001 requires implementing specific data security features to secure IT systems, including software and websites, properly. Data transcriptionists need to employ the following cybersecurity measures to protect client data at rest and in transit:

  • Website encryption: HTTPS website security should be a priority for any company that handles client data. This ensures the safe transmission of data between your web browser and the company’s website. Typically, HTTPS uses Transport Layer Security (TLS) to secure data in transit. A padlock in the address bar of any of the service’s webpage confirms the use of this data security protocol.
  • Login encryption: If a company requires you to create an account to access their service, then you will need to provide the appropriate personal information and login credentials. All online login portals should have the latest version of TSL encryption to protect sensitive information from interception by bad actors.
  • Virtual Private Networks (VPN): A VPN allows staff to access their company’s online-based resources via an encrypted tunnel. Whenever a firm’s employees use secure VPNs, these tools make it possible for their employees to safely share any sensitive audio or text files you send them. It’s also ideal for secure remote access.
  • Antivirus/ Antimalware: Up-to-date antivirus and antimalware tools can protect an organization’s IT systems. It’s vital to have anti-ransomware protection to guard against threats such as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.
  • Firewalls: Up-to-date firewalls add another data security layer to operating systems. They can help protect against various types of cyber threats, including malware and viruses.
  • Multi-factor authentication (MFA): This can help prevent unauthorized access to devices, including VPNs and computers, even if your password has been compromised.

Generally, discuss your data security concerns with your Transcription service provider before working with them. They should explain the measures they have in place to guarantee the privacy and confidentiality of the files you’re willing to share.

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Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy is the Cofounder & President of GMR Transcription Services, Inc., a California-based company that has been providing accurate and fast transcription services since 2004. She has enjoyed nearly ten years of success at GMR, playing a pivotal role in the company's growth. Under Beth's leadership, GMR Transcription doubled its sales within two years, earning recognition as one of the OC Business Journal's fastest-growing private companies. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two kids.