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According to Hipaajournal, reported data breaches of 500 or more healthcare records rose by 40.63% in February 2021.
Digitalization in the healthcare industry has allowed healthcare organizations to provide improved patient care, automate administrative tasks, and cut costs by a large margin.
However, the same technology, if not used carefully, can result in loss of sensitive data, heavy fines, and reputation damage. But, this can be avoided if healthcare companies realize the importance of cybersecurity in healthcare industry before they fall victim to cyberattacks.
Why the healthcare industry gets hit more
A few years back, almost all processes in healthcare used to be carried out manually, which not only resulted in more errors, but also made it difficult to store excessive information. Thanks to custom healthcare solutions these processes have now become much efficient, smooth and useful.
Now, healthcare providers can easily store and retrieve information from cloud-technology, allowing them to be much more competent and fast; enabling them to save time, money, and efforts.
Medical records can be worth millions of dollars
The main reason healthcare companies are the biggest target of cyberattacks is because these companies hold sensitive data worth high monetary and intelligence value. This includes information such as bank and credit card details, patients protected health information, social security numbers, and much more.
All of this information can be worth millions of dollars. In fact, it has been reported that health records can be sold up to 10 times or more as compared to stolen credit card numbers on the dark web.
Moreover, it has been reported that as compared to other industries, the cost to compensate for data breach in healthcare costs three times more.
Cybersecurity measures help against cyberattacks, security breaches, and information leak/theft. It can help save healthcare organizations huge amounts of money that they would otherwise need to pay in case the patient data gets leaked. If these organizations are not educated about the importance of cybersecurity in healthcare, then it’s not long before they fall victims to it.
Cybersecurity challenges in health care
According to Verizon’s 2016 data breach investigation reports, the majority of security breaches are financially motivated, and attackers usually take the easiest route to get the information they require. There are different types of cyber threats to healthcare organizations, which include:
Ransomware and Malware
This type of malware encrypts victims’ files, devices, servers, or entire networks. The victim is usually required to pay a heavy sum of money to get back access to their files.
Recently, more and more companies have started uploading protected health information on the cloud. Without proper cybersecurity measures, this information can be hacked into and leaked.
A social engineering attack where mass amounts of emails are sent from seemingly authentic sources. Phishing attacks in healthcare usually result in stolen user data, including login credentials and credit card numbers.
Employees can leave healthcare organizations prone to cyber-attacks through unencrypted devices, weak passwords, and other failures of compliances.
There are many authentic looking websites on the internet that have been created by cyber criminals to scam businesses and individuals. Registering to these websites can result in misuse of your information.
Top 5 tips on how to avoid cyber attacks in healthcare
Cyber-security issues in healthcare information can pose a serious threat to our organization. Therefore, it is important that you know how to protect your organization against cyber-attacks.
1. Consider cloud solution for sensitive data
When it comes to keeping your organization’s data and information secure, cloud solution is your best bet. Not only does it help protect your data, but also creates information backup that can be used in case of any security mishaps.
Today, different industries, including healthcare, are uploading their sensitive data to Cloud to protect it from getting into the wrong hands.
However, it has been reported that 25% healthcare organizations using the public cloud said that they are not encrypting patient data, which can result in cyberattacks.
Cybersecurity measures such as multi-factor authentication, data encryption ensuring security compliance, and incident response programs can help strengthen information security on cloud.
This is something that organizations really need to focus on.
2. Perform risk assessment test
According to a rule passed by HIPAA back in 2003, healthcare organizations were asked to take a risk assessment test to ensure the health and safety of workplaces.
However, no penalty was imposed if the rule was not followed, therefore not many companies took the risk assessment test seriously.
However, this changed in 2009, when the HITECH Act made it necessary for all healthcare organizations to perform security risk analysis.
This analysis is important as it helps point out problems in the security system of an organization, and helps identify threats beforehand, to avoid any potential problems in the future. It also helps evaluate the suitability and effectiveness of existing control measures.
You might also want to read: A GUIDE TO HIPAA COMPLIANT HEALTHCARE SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT
3. Make sure all software’s are up to date
A lot of healthcare companies don’t take software updates seriously. Mainly because the majority of organizations are not aware of the significance of software updates, and how outdated softwares can increase the risk of cyber attacks on healthcare companies, giving attackers a backdoor into the rest of your systems.
Software updates usually incorporate necessary upgrades for your system that can help protect your system from security attacks and threats.
Majority of software updates include critical patches to security holes, which makes them extremely important for digital safety and cybersecurity.
Not updating your system makes it vulnerable to security breaches which can cost companies millions of dollars in the long run.
4. Employ cybersecurity specialists
Security breaches can wreak havoc on organizations, not only resulting in bankruptcies, but also putting them out of business for good.
According to stats, in the past two years, around 89% of healthcare organizations experienced a data breach. Data breaches not only result in heavy fines, but also in loss of customer trust.
Therefore, it is important for healthcare businesses to focus on the importance of internet security, and take all possible steps to protect patient data before your organization faces a similar mishap.
One effective way to protect your company against such unpleasant circumstances is hiring employees that work solely to keep your company’s digital security in check.
You might also want to educate the rest of your staff about the importance of cybersecurity in the healthcare industry, and hire security officials who ensure the implementation of HIPAA policies and norms.
Hopefully, this article has helped you gain insightful information on the importance of cybersecurity in healthcare. With the right practices and knowledge, it is possible to secure your medical practices against the unfavorable circumstances mentioned above.
Looking for a reliable custom healthcare software development company? Get in touch with InvoZone today.