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Ensuring HIPAA Compliance in Healthcare

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Executive Summary

Wireless LANs are prevalent in healthcare institutions. The constant need for mobility among doctors, nurses, and staff while remaining connected to clinical information systems make them an ideal environment for Wi-Fi networks. The number of applications that Wi-Fi is used for within healthcare continues to grow, increasing the Wi-Fi networks importance as a mission critical component of the network infrastructure. However, with WLANs comes a new security risk. Many healthcare organizations realize the need for properly securing the wireless LAN and using secure over-the-air encryption and authentication methods such as WPA and WPA2. However, this alone is not enough. Inexpensive consumer-grade access points, typically unsecured and brought in without malice by employees, can open up the healthcare network to anyone within range of the signal.

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