Lately, we've been discussing in the office whether certain cloud-based solutions are HIPAA compliant or not. iCloud is a cloud-based service from Apple that stores photos, videos, documents, music, and apps while keeping them updated across all devices. We know the HIPAA industry is vast so we can empathize with just how many people need to use cloud-based services in this sector.
In previous posts, we’ve covered the following cloud solutions and their capabilities for HIPAA compliance:
- Amazon CloudFront
- Citrix ShareFile
- Google Drive
- Google Forms
- Google Hangouts
- Microsoft 365
Today, we will determine if Apple iCloud offers HIPAA compliance or not.
SEE ALSO: HIPAA Breaches and Cloud Providers
About Apple iCloud
Apple iCloud is an online storage service that serves as a place to keep files, contacts, calendars and images. Users can access them from across all of their Apple devices, including the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
Apple iCloud and the Business Associate Agreement
We’ve previously talked about how a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) is a written contract between a Covered Entity and a Business Associate. It is required by law for HIPAA compliance. We checked Apple's corporate site and found an important piece of information on the iCloud Terms and Conditions page. On that page, Apple states: "If you are a covered entity, business associate or representative of a covered entity or business associate (as those terms are defined at 45 C.F.R § 160.103), You agree that you will not use any component, function or other facility of iCloud to create, receive, maintain or transmit any “protected health information” (as such term is defined at 45 C.F.R § 160.103) or use iCloud in any manner that would make Apple (or any Apple Subsidiary) Your or any third party’s business associate."
Does Apple iCloud Offer HIPAA Compliant Service?
The Business Associate Agreement is a key component to HIPAA compliance between a Covered Entity and a Business Associate. While there was a lot of confusing information on Apple's Discussion forums on Apple iCloud and HIPAA compliance, Apple's corporate site quickly yielded the information we were looking for.
Apple iCloud is not HIPAA compliant. Do not use Apple iCloud if you are bound by HIPAA regulations.