United States healthcare organizations, from small two-person offices to massive hospitals, need to draw their attention to cybersecurity. While many medical personnel don’t understand or think they need it, a recent report by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services on cybersecurity disagrees.
The industry must come together to address this growing concern and this blog will give you six solid ways to do so.
Why Healthcare Organizations are Targeted
According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, social security numbers have the possibility of being more exposed in healthcare than any other industry.
In addition, because doctors’ offices, hospitals and suppliers are often interconnected with Electronic Health Records, once a cybercriminal breaches one system, it’s much easier to crack into others.
Unlike credit card numbers that are generally used within a few minutes to a few days of being stolen, health records are valuable to a bad actor up to ten years after they capture the data. If the patient information is sensitive in nature, it can be used a blackmail against them.
One other important note, health records are ten to sixty times more valuable on the dark web than credit card information.
How Bad Actors Get In
Nurses, doctors and administrators typically don’t understand data breach risks; therefore, cybercriminals access patient records in one or more of the following ways:
- While smart devices help diagnose and treat patients, they often have the lowest level of encryption which make them great entry points
- Legacy hardware that doesn’t support current operating systems and applications and software that hasn’t been upgraded and updated is another method
- Electronic Health Records (EHRs), that are purposefully or accidently given to the wrong individuals
- Patient portals that do not have end-to-end encryption
Unfortunately, even today, only 25% of all U.S. hospitals have a designated cybersecurity specialist, according to Healthcare IT News. This makes reporting and monitoring difficult.
Ignoring Cybersecurity is Risky Business
If patient data is stolen or compromised, your organization will be held accountable under HIPPA guidelines and will incur heavy regulatory fines. In addition, if enough records are exposed, your brand reputation will suffer leaving patients to possibly seek other medical options. Last, if your records are held for ransomware, you may have to pay millions of dollars for return of those records.
Six Effective Cybersecurity Solutions
- Put one individual in charge of cybersecurity.
Whether you run a small office or a sprawling medical complex, one person needs to oversee cybersecurity. This person will set policy. They will be the conduit to others to report problems and suspected breaches.
- Complete a benefit/risk analysis of all connected devices.
What is the value of each device? Is there an alternative product that offers a better cybersecurity choice? What is your BYOD policy? A complete analysis should be completed before moving to the next step.
- Set in place cybersecurity standards and practices.
Once a thorough analysis of your hardware, software and network solutions is concluded, which should include virtual workers and suppliers that can tie into your network, you are armed with enough information to move forward on an effective policy. Work with outside consultants who can analyze your vulnerabilities effectively.
- Subscribe to updates from the Health Care Industry Cybersecurity Task Force.
This 21-member task force is responsible for researching and making recommendations on healthcare cybersecurity initiatives. They offer best practices, on an ongoing basis, to prepare your organization against an attack.
- Implement a strong continuous monitoring solution.
Effective cybersecurity starts by protecting the data that resides on the network. Failure to have 24/7 monitoring can result in data loss, ransomware and impact your brand integrity.
- Outsource cybersecurity.
The funding required to hire, train and keep cybersecurity talent may simply not be available for small-to-medium medical facilities. Tack on assessment software and monitoring solutions, which can be enough to push your small IT budget over the edge, not allowing you to move forward on other needed equipment upgrades. Outsourcing handles all of the above concerns and more.
Axiom Cyber Solutions Can Protect Your Medical Establishment
We offer the world’s first polymorphic cyber defense platform that can identify the newest threats, vulnerabilities, and automatically dispatch updates in real-time. This included ransomware and DDoS mitigation, as well as, dynamic dark web protection. Contact us today to learn more about how we can protect your data today!