The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was passed in 1996 to grant patients privacy rights over their medical records and other personally identifiable health information. By law, covered entities and their business associates must implement security safeguards for protected health information (PHI). While Talkdesk is not a covered entity and does not consider itself a business associate, we want to ensure that our customers can use Talkdesk in a HIPAA-compliant way. Talkdesk follows industry best practices for security, availability, processing integrity, and confidentiality.
Amazon-based custom storage solution
To better support our HIPAA-compliant customers, Talkdesk has developed a new solution that addresses the area of Talkdesk application that’s most likely to contain PHI: call recordings. This solution allows customers to store and manage call recordings directly in their own server.
How does it work?
Recordings are transferred directly to custom server for storage. This process happens asynchronously for each recording file. When a user tries to access a recording through Talkdesk application or 3rd party CRM, Talkdesk will create a signed URL to the recording file. User must be authenticated in order to play the recording.
Customer can directly manage access control and data retention policy for recording files, or delegate these tasks to Talkdesk.
This solution has been designed to maximize data security when working with Talkdesk:
- Server Access: Following best practices for granting access to 3rd parties via IAM role, Talkdesk only accesses the customer’s Amazon Web Services (AWS) resources using temporary security credentials instead of long-term credentials. Talkdesk can provide an AWS policy template which contains the proper permissions to work correctly with our recording service.
- Transfer and Storage: Recording files are transferred directly to the customer’s server from Twilio. Talkdesk receives AWS acknowledgment to confirm that the file arrived at its intended destination, but does not access or store the data within our infrastructure at any point in the process. This happens asynchronously for each recording file, meaning that files are processed individually instead of in batch.
- Access Control: By default, Talkdesk will authenticate users before they can play recordings. Once authenticated, Talkdesk will redirect the user via a time-bounded signed URL to play the recording from a temporary file location. Optionally, the customer could revoke READ access and manage user access control internally. In this scenario, we would redirect the user to the customer’s server for authentication and authorization.
- Data Disposal: When a recording file has exceeded the defined data retention policy, Talkdesk will permanently delete the file from the customer’s server and the user will see that the file is no longer available. Optionally, the customer could revoke DELETE access and manage data retention internally.
Talkdesk partners with Twilio to power real-time communications with end customers according to Twilio’s standard Terms of Service. Since the recording files are created by Twilio, they are necessarily stored within Twilio’s infrastructure (albeit temporarily). Talkdesk initiates transfer as soon as Twilio notifies us that a recording file is available. Once we confirm that the recording has been successfully transferred to the customer’s server, we request deletion of that file from Twilio.
For more details about Twilio’s security practices, please review Twilio’s Security Whitepaper.
Learn how to configure Talkdesk’s custom storage solution for Amazon Web Services (AWS) here.