Jackson-Hinds’ Prey Anti-Theft software allows it to track and protect 120 laptops used by clinicians.

Image courtesy of Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center

Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center (JHCHC) is the largest and oldest federally funded health center in the state of Mississippi. Founded in 1970, the organization has grown from a single facility to a multisite and multidisciplinary health system serving Hinds, Warren and Copiah counties. It operates 24 locations among the three counties, including 10 school-based and two mobile clinics. 

Jackson-Hinds’ mission is to provide high-quality, low-cost care to its 49,000 annual patients living throughout communities in the Jackson, Miss., area. One of its strategies to provide affordable and exceptional care is to efficiently leverage its technology. The health system manages 120 laptops across its facilities, and two years ago set out on a mission to ensure its technology and the sensitive patient and other information stored on those laptops are safe and secure. 

Markeese Robinson, chief information officer, is responsible for JHCHC’s fleet of laptops and says that his biggest concern is keeping patient information secure so that JHCHC is compliant with federal Meaningful Use regulations, which demand vigorous protection of patient health care data.

Robinson and his team had already made some best practice steps, such as  installing password-protected encryption software on all the laptops so that if someone stole a laptop and took the hard drive out, the data could not be accessed. However, Robinson wanted to add an additional layer of protection that would allow him to remotely wipe data and possibly locate and retrieve a lost or stolen device.

Robinson evaluated several possible security offerings before selecting Prey Anti-Theft software. He chose Prey because it allows him to locate a missing device, access its files and, if necessary, wipe it clean. In addition to having all the capabilities that JHCHC needed, he says Prey also came at an affordable price.

Prey Inc. is a San Francisco-based information technology (IT) company that helps organizations monitor and organize their mobile fleets, including laptops, tablets and smartphones, while also protecting them against data theft.  

“Prey Anti-Theft allows JHCHC to take pictures, send messages and monitor our fleet of laptops,” Robinson says. “Most importantly, it gives us the ability to erase data or lock a computer and prevent access to it. If someone loses a laptop, we can prove we did everything possible to protect the data on it.”

Robinson says that the health center has not had to use many of its features in real life, but it has done extensive testing to ensure the system can handle JHCHC’s needs, such as its file retrieval capabilities. Other features, such as the multidevice management, label and search functions help JHCHC to track laptops and rename them according to inventory. These features help ensure its inventory is accurate and easy to access.

The software also has a reporting service that alerts the IT staff if a laptop seems to be offline longer than normal. The IT staff can then check and see if an employee has left the organization and reassign credentials as necessary.

Administrators can also set up predefined areas that monitor device movement on predefined sectors, like within a facility or a building’s wing. If an assigned device moves in or out of the zone, the IT staff is notified.

To date, Prey has helped Robinson secure and locate a lost laptop. A provider had misplaced his laptop before going on vacation, then was unable to find it once he returned. Using Prey, Robinson was able to lock the computer to prevent access. However, because it was never used, Prey remained in stealth mode and did not alert the IT staff with its location. Eventually, the laptop was found in a cabinet in a pediatrics clinic. Its identification number indicated that it belonged in a different department, and it was returned to its rightful location.

In the future, Robinson hopes to take advantage of Prey’s geofencing capabilities. The added feature will allow JHCHC to keep track of laptops that are mounted in examination rooms and prevent them from being moved to other locations within a given facility.

“Prey is great at verifying a computer is in the right hands,” Robinson says. “It provides JHCHC with an extra layer of security and helps keep patient data safe.”