5 Cybersecurity Tips for Healthcare Organisations
Unfortunately, healthcare organizations have become a popular target for cybercriminals in recent years. This is because healthcare organizations are rife with valuable personal data, and the increasing reliance on technology has only made this information more accessible to cybercriminals.
Paperwork has been replaced with cloud and database systems, and while this has proved to be highly efficient to healthcare professionals and patients, the increased connectivity, data sharing, and ease of remote access have made the healthcare sector more vulnerable. To protect their data and meet the strict HIPAA regulations, here are key cybersecurity tips for healthcare facilities.
Lack of encryption is one of the most common HIPAA violations (See HIPAA violations explained here). Data encryption helps to add another layer to other best practices, and in case there is a breach and PHI (protected health information) is stolen, the cybercriminals won’t be able to use it without the private key.
Regular risk assessment
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the demand for greater digital and technology capabilities in the healthcare sector. As the future of medical care is increasingly being digitized, there is a greater risk of cyberattacks and more loopholes to siphon data. To limit these risks, you need a regular risk assessment and audits of your systems to discover potential sources of threats and solve them before you can use them.
Build a safety culture
The biggest threat to healthcare cybersecurity is your employees. They are the most vulnerable link, and cybercriminals always capitalize on human error and negligence to gain access to secured systems. Creating awareness is the first step to building a culture of safety, and you should do this through regular cybersecurity training and guidance on the best practices of IT usage. This will help reduce costly mistakes such as downloading malware, easily falling to phishing scams, and the use of weak passwords.
Rely on tried and proven technologies
There are many new technologies refining the medical world, but this does not make every solution suitable for your healthcare facility. You need to be extra cautious when considering adopting new technology, especially if it will have access to patient information. The biggest culprits are mobile applications that have become commonplace in most healthcare settings. A highly efficient way of remaining safe is to always rely on tried and proven technologies approved by local and international regulatory bodies.
Control access to protected patient data
Protected patient data is protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA) act, and if you fail to keep it secure, the consequences can be dire. Cybercriminals use confidential patient information to steal money from bank accounts and commit identity theft, among other things.
Your IT team should carefully control access to protected health information, only allowing authorized employees to access the records. There should be regular audits to determine who accessed what and when, and employees who have been terminated should be denied access immediately.
Data breaches in healthcare organizations can wreak havoc, through financial fraud, identity theft, and legal repercussions, among other problems. Implement these tips to ensure your data is protected.