With the ever-evolving threat landscape continuing to grow, it’s no surprise that certain industries are being more affected. Many recent cyberattacks of healthcare data prove that the healthcare industry is a prime target for hackers. This is due to the nature of healthcare, and the amount of information that is contained within, such as patient records, health information, etc. Staying ahead of these threats requires effort from the leadership level, all the way down to the individual employees. In this blog, we’ll detail specific strategies healthcare institutions must implement to protect themselves against cyber threats.
Establish a Culture of Cyber Security
In order to protect the sensitive healthcare data that is collected, a culture of cyber security needs to be implemented on all levels. Cybersecurity should be a corporate value of healthcare institutions, which requires allocating sufficient resources and funding in budgets, and creating a strategic security plan that works towards mitigating risks.
Protect Mobile Devices
Personal mobile devices at any organization pose a risk as they aren’t traditionally protected on the same level as work devices. There are certain concerns that surround unprotected personal devices, such as data encryption and HIPAA compliance issues. The best way to mitigate risk of personal devices in the healthcare sector is to install add-on systems for mobile device management, which provides secure file sharing while also acting as an authentication tool.
Keep Software and Operating Systems Up-to-Date
Ignoring software updates and security patches expose organizations to unnecessary threats. When software updates are released, they send a signal to both users and hackers that there are vulnerabilities within the previous version which can be exploited.
If data security isn’t cause for concern enough, running outdated operating systems on medical equipment can severely impair a healthcare system’s ability to deliver quality care. Being proactive about software updates for all systems, including desktop, mobile, and IoT devices is key to reducing vulnerabilities.
Plan for an Inevitable Breach
As hackers continue to become more sophisticated, so do their attacks. It’s smart to plan for an inevitable breach these days while also working to prevent one. Compliance alone doesn’t ensure data security. Regular risk assessments are necessary to identify and address possible entry points and security gaps in an organization’s systems, processes and equipment.
A comprehensive incident response plan should outline how your organization will attempt to recover, individual roles for handling the notification and how the breach is being handled.
Employee Awareness Training
All employees acting within the healthcare system including providers, staff volunteers and vendors should receive regular security awareness training. Some of the most effective training practices include real-life hacking and phishing simulations to prepare employees on how to detect and report suspicious behavior. Additionally, employees should be educated on cybersecurity best practices such as multi-factor authentication and long complex passwords.
Work with a Trusted Partner that Prioritizes Healthcare Security
Your organization is only as strong as its weakest link. While this usually relates to team members, it’s very much applicable to the partners you introduce into your workplace. Working with a trusted partner who understands the importance of your data, as well as your compliance standards not only provides security to your institution, but allows your patients to know that they and their information is being handled with the upmost care.
Stay Compliant and Secure with Kyber Security
Healthcare professionals regularly tell us that patient privacy and patient data protection is a big concern. Allow us to evaluate your patient data related processes, controls, and policies to identify any potential gaps between your practices and HIPAA requirements. We can do the heavy lifting for you so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel creating new policies and corrective actions prior to an OCR audit or compliance review.