Cybersecurity has been an ongoing concern for several major industries. The rapid shift to digitization has given rise to several threats in cybersecurity in healthcare. Today, healthcare companies have access to enormous amounts of patient data, most of which are stored electronically. The loss or breach of data privacy due to the hacking of the records is no child’s play as far as healthcare companies are concerned. Apart from being sued, such mishaps could also tarnish the brand name and trust of patients in the company. In the past couple of years, a number of hacking and IT security incidents have been reported and several companies in the healthcare sector have struggled to protect their data and keep cybercriminals at bay. Hence, given such complexities, it becomes imperative to ensure appropriate measures for cybersecurity in healthcare. Cybercriminals are now developing highly sophisticated techniques and tools to attack healthcare organizations, gain access to their data, and hold their records and network hostage in lieu of a ransom. Earlier, cybersecurity in healthcare was lagging compared to other sectors. However, many top healthcare providers have purchased new technologies, spiked-up their cybersecurity budgets, and are getting better at blocking attacks and keeping their networks secure. Here are some of the best ways in which cybersecurity in healthcare can be improved:
Acknowledge the threat
It might often seem silly for someone to hack healthcare records, but recent incidents rule out the chance to take such mishaps lightly. Healthcare data is highly lucrative for cybercriminals, especially in the area of ransomware. Ransomware refers to a type of malicious software that holds patients’ healthcare information and financial data hostage until the hackers who deploy it receive payment from the victim ( in this case healthcare companies). Cybersecurity in healthcare is now such a major threat that the FBI has issued a stern warning about the occurrence of this kind of practices to the healthcare organizations. Hence, rather than brushing such matters under the carpet, healthcare companies must recognize that without strong security measures, they are putting themselves and their patients at risk.
Staff training and development
It is not just important for the top management officials to be warned of the importance of cybersecurity in healthcare. All healthcare staff must be informed and trained about the various threats relating to cybersecurity in healthcare. Healthcare companies must focus on providing comprehensive training to the staff on cybersecurity measures and the risks involved if they are not diligent about these measures. They must also be cautioned to report any suspicious e-mail communications or pop-ups to the IT department immediately. Also, this is not a one-time process. Employees must be regularly updated on the new threats and security measures adopted by the organization.
Organizations are often under the misconception that they are doing it all to preserve the privacy and security of their technology. But there are chances of overlooking several critical factors for ensuring cybersecurity in healthcare companies. Hiring a third-party auditor to conduct a comprehensive assessment, test weak points, review staff training and recommend improvement strategies will help healthcare organizations make their records more secure.
Revisit and update protocols
Companies in the healthcare space might have established the security procedures that address how a staff accesses and interacts with the technology in their facilities. In most healthcare companies, the staff can access healthcare data using a multi-character password or a pin. Implementing techniques such as two-factor identification to further assure privacy is protected adds another level of protection. Also, ensuring that the password is changed at regular intervals is a small step towards ensuring cybersecurity in healthcare companies.