Doctors have a lot of responsibility, and anything can go wrong in a medical situation, so they have to be prepared for a new age of digital medicine. Unfortunately, this means accounting for a wave of cyberattacks that target hospitals.
This ruthless new method of blackmail targets hospital infrastructure via denial-of-service malware. It requires hefty payments to unlock the software – payments that are often made with patients’ lives at risk.
This might seem like something out of a sci-fi drama, but it’s an all-too-common scenario for hospitals today. The average cost of a data breach worldwide is over four million dollars, but the average is higher for healthcare agencies.
In fact, in the United States, the average data breach costs healthcare operations over ten million dollars. That means that preventing these breaches before they happen and beefing up your security is one of the most important things you can do.
Top Security Threats in Healthcare Organizations
Security threats come from many sources outside and inside the healthcare organization. Not all of these can be prevented, but many can be mitigated by awareness and advance planning.
Cybersecurity attempts are among the biggest problem today, with a combination of freelance criminals and foreign agents looking to hack major systems and throw the country into chaos. Hospitals are more likely to be targeted by the former, as their primary goal is money.
However, not every breach comes from an outside source. Many hospitals have found themselves dealing with data breaches caused by staff misuse of data. It can be as simple as leaving a computer logged in and allowing a bad actor access to the hospital’s private data.
Is your data secure? You might have more vulnerability points than you think. It’s common for doctors to have hospital-issued electronic devices that have access to the whole network. If one of these gets lost or stolen, it could compromise the entire network. Having multiple layers of security on your devices can help to prevent data breaches.
Finally, it’s important to know who you’re working with. Hospitals often work with device and medication vendors who offer trials to patients. This means outside people gain access to patient data, and could possibly sell it to other vendors. It’s important to vet vendors well and ensure to only offer them access to the necessary data while protecting the rest.
4 Ways to Mitigate Security Threats in Healthcare Organizations
Your organization’s goal should be to protect your security, your patients’ data, and the integrity of your revenue. A key point of vulnerability is the medical revenue management cycle, which is the series of steps you take to process healthcare payments. A data breach during this process can be costly and delay both treatments and funding. Here are some ways to avoid that potential disaster.
Cybersecurity Training for Staff
This is an important element that many organizations overlook. Employing a dedicated IT staff is important, but it’s not enough – everyone who is handling the technology in your organization needs to know the basics. Making time for training to keep your staff up on security protocols could prevent a costly breach.
A common mistake many organizations make is leaving things open on who has access to what information. This can lead to data passing down the line into places it shouldn’t be. All it takes is one chain along the way to decide to use the data improperly, which could cause chaos. Figure out who needs access to what and keep the chain limited.
No one likes the often-slow process of updating your software, but it can be one of the best ways to protect your network. If your system is prompting you to update, there’s a good chance it’s noticed a security flaw or has a new system designed to protect your network. Update regularly to maximize the life of your system.
Mobile Device Usage Protocols
A key vulnerability point is often workplace data use, as it’s possible for an employee to log into an insecure site and offer bad actors a portal into the network. Make sure that work devices are only used for professional uses to keep things secure.
A More Secure Network
It can sometimes feel like digital networks face a constant threat of hacking. The way to avoid this is with proper planning ahead of time. Most security breaches can be prevented.
Is your technology up to date? Is your staff properly trained on the proper use of technology? If the answer to both of these is yes, you have the best possible odds of keeping your data secure.