Data breaches in healthcare are rampant in today’s cyber threat landscape. Is it possible to prevent them? Security must become ingrained in the strategy of the organization. Keep reading the following tips to ensure success.
Why instigate data breaches in healthcare? The reason is apparent that the pharmacies, hospitals, doctors, and clinics practices have valuable information. Healthcare organizations attract cybercriminals as they are goldmines of private, personal information. Thus, there is a need to protect securely the information.
Data Breaches in Healthcare
If you look at the healthcare wall of shame, it seems the healthcare industry shows towards a lax attitude for security procedures.
This lax attitude makes data breaches in healthcare almost inevitable.
Based on the high amount of personal information available within healthcare organizations, a data breach will only devastate patients and providers. There is a need to prevent data breaches in healthcare and it means tightening the security. A few actions to shrink a data breach possibility:
Perform Yearly Assessment of Security Risk
There are a lot of things going on in an organization in a period of 12 months. This involves infrastructure enhancements, integration of a new system, employee turnover, and organizational restructuring. In fact, it is prone to vulnerabilities to take place.
Performing yearly assessment of security risk helps the providers to review the protocols of security and to assess system vulnerability, besides understanding the security measures to be improved.
Learn about healthcare data breach impacts
Accepting the fact that not all the people working with healthcare data are tech-savvy, there is a need to be more careful. This is because less or lack of knowledge may cause a security breach. The risk is high and acquiring proper technical knowledge should be made mandatory.
Educating employees on data breaches and its impacts is the foremost step to prevent the breach from happening. Educating employees or amount spent on data security learning is an investment. The cyber attack risk is reduced only when there are educated employees.
Nicknamed the “Healthcare Wall of Shame” the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services must post a list of breaches of unsecured protected health information affecting 500 or more individuals, based on the HITECH Act. You are able to see the number of individuals affected, the type of breach, and location of breached information.
Monitor records and devices
Constantly reminding employees about being mindful in using electronic devices and leaving unattended paper records is helpful.
Avoiding a healthcare data breach also involves paper records getting stolen. Thus, safeguarding the information of a patient is the responsibility of everyone and the employees must ensure to keep data safe.
While security awareness training is important, the service that has proven to be more effective in managed endpoint detection and response.
By managing the endpoints and having the ability to prevent malware from executing, it’s possible to prevent data breaches in healthcare.
Install hardware and encryption of data
Encryption is critical to prevent data breaches in healthcare. It is the best way of safeguarding data. There is a need to ensure data is not accessed and so encrypting patient information is a must. Besides, the vulnerable hardware such as network endpoints, servers, medical devices, and mobile is the right decision.
Implementing data encryption is a must. Money spent on the protocols of encryption will soon outweigh government penalties, legal fees, forensics, negative publicity, and potential lawsuits that run into millions.
Restricting patient information
The healthcare environment always has many hands working and patient information is always in use. This is the reason it is important to limit the access of data and to manage carefully the user’s identity.
Controlling the access to information is rightly done by logging on and off the machines that are shared. These are safe methods that help in identifying a computer that is logged in or left unattended. Running automation helps to check these protocols and ensures safety and efficiency for that involved.
Modernize IT Infrastructure
A common scene in hospital environments is outdated computer hardware. Actually, it is crucial for the healthcare environment to have secure equipment. In fact, it is observed that even today in many hospitals Windows XP is in use. Microsoft has already ceased support for XP and there are no new patches of security available. It means with XP users the healthcare data breach is open.
There is a need to realize the importance of healthcare data. Hospitals have sensitive information and are the data banks. If someone breaches and lays a hand over the confidential medical record, it will be a disaster to the healthcare system.
Patching is vital, especially in older equipment. A Managed patching and vulnerability service could help prevent data breaches in healthcare.
Invest to defend networks
The truth is that hospitals require more doctors and nurses, but there is a need for supportive hospital administration. There is a need to be careful of the medical data and to take preventive measures to safeguard the data.
Preventing cyber attacks implies the healthcare should invest in defending networks so that there is no data breach. The healthcare data should not be mitigated and so ensure your staff is vigilant and aware of data protection.
When you start with the security strategy, you can create a framework for all security-based decisions. Read more about People, Process, and Technology here.
Subnet wireless networks
Nowadays, offering Wi-Fi as free access has become common. Hospitals are also offering the same. The key is to ensure the patients are not stranded and the Wi-Fi access allows them to access their requisites.
Offering patient Wi-Fi access is not wrong, but it should be done by creating subnetworks. Creating subnetwork means it will be reserved for public use and permit restricted access to guest users. Creating more subnets for apps to know information on healthcare, for business applications, and apps involving monetary transaction is also essential. Having subnetworks is recommended so that the healthcare data network is safe and secure in an encrypted form and there is no breach of data.
Implement BYOD policy
Smart devices use is on the increase and aids doctors remotely. This is convenient but is also a threat to the IT departments who wish to safeguard the healthcare environment.
Thus, it means to follow a policy of BYOD ‘bring your own device’. This will keep the IT associates and the employees aware of the devices that will be in use internally and externally. Also, draw a strict outline to adhere to the BYOD so that there is no healthcare data breach.
Remote smart device use comes with increased risk. Be sure to have endpoints secured through a managed endpoint service.
Hire a Cyber Team for Incident Response
There is a need for an expert cyber team as a standby representative. If there is a data breach, you must be ready for the worst. If you aren’t able to prevent a data breach, you’ll reduce the negative effect of the breach when you have an incident response team standing by.
Protecting patient data with tight network advanced security helps in detecting the indicators and also in responding before the attack actually starts. Any sort of neglect cannot be acceptable in healthcare. Regardless of what happens, accepting the situation is best and dealing with it during the sensitive circumstances is possible only by an expert cyber team.
Learn more about Incident Response and Incident Containment Services.