LITTLE ROCK, Ark., April 2, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Windstream (Nasdaq:WIN), a leading provider of advanced communications, today announced that BrightLine CPAs & Associates Inc. has certified its data centers and network comply with federal and industry standards for protecting consumers' private health and financial data. BrightLine found that Windstream complies with federal HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and HITECH (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act) regulations. The HIPPA Privacy, Security and Breach Notification rules protect the privacy of patient health information and require covered entities and their business associates to take specific action to protect electronic health information when it is being processed, transmitted or stored in the data network. Over a six-month period, Windstream worked with BrightLine, a globally accredited Qualified Security Assessor firm that provides assurance and compliance services, to evaluate Windstream's systems and training processes. BrightLine found that Windstream has adopted the essential elements and requirements of the 2003 HIPPA and HITECH final security rule, including but not limited to administrative safeguards, physical safeguards, technical safeguards and breach notifications. "We have undertaken this strict examination to demonstrate and ensure that our systems are consistent with HIPAA and HITECH requirements, and that we are able to guarantee that both our employees and data centers meet the federal government's stringent security requirements," said Chris Nicolini, Windstream's senior vice president of data center operations. "Completing this examination confirms the trustworthiness of our team, products and services and we are committed to performing this examination year after year, in order to maintain compliance and the trust of our customers." "In today's security threat landscape, a service provider's ability to secure their customers' data has become foundational to a managed hosting architecture and solution," said Al Sadowski, Research Director at 451 Research. "HIPAA and HITECH compliance for hosted data centers, coupled with PCI DSS 2.0 certification, provide customers with the assurance that a provider's network and hosting environment meet a higher standard of data security and protection. This assurance is especially important for sectors such as healthcare, retail and financial services which operate with highly sensitive data requiring fortified transport and storage."