As a healthcare professional, it’s your job to provide patients with the best information available so they can stay healthy. Yet many healthcare organizations forego their own health assessments. We are, of course, talking about the scourge of cybercrime, an unfortunate entity lurking within most medical practices.
Whether you realize it or not, healthcare cybersecurity is severely lacking. This isn’t just bad news for your practice, it’s terrible news for the patients who entrust you with their most sensitive personal data, financial data and even their very private medical records.
To keep this information safe, you need to diagnose you own cybersecurity flaws. Keep reading to find out how.
A Good Hard Look at Your Organization
Stolen medical records are sold for 10 to 20 times the value of a lifted credit card on the digital black market (also known as the dark web). The primary reason for this is that the information contained within these records (Social Security numbers, birthdates, etc.) are unchangeable and perfect for identity theft. Credit card numbers, on the other hand, are easily canceled and expire after a certain period of time.
Knowing this, you should seriously consider how your patients’ medical records are shared and stored within your organization. If you can’t say with full-throated confidence “our records are as secure as can be,” then you need to take a closer look.
Of course, it’s not just data breaches that medical practices need to worry about. Cyberattacks targeting healthcare are on the rise; especially ransomware attacks which lock down a network or device until an extortion fee is paid (usually in Bitcoin).
Sometimes this malware lays dormant within your network before being activated by a remote hacker. If you haven’t already invested in an antivirus or anti-malware software (such as Norton by Symantec), then you ought to do this right away. Still, this isn’t a foolproof solution as zero-day attacks are developed all the time. So, what can you do?
One option is to hire a team of cybersecurity analysts to visit your office on a regular basis (say, once every six months). This way, they can shuffle through your network to discover evidence of data leaks, cyberattacks and things of this ilk. They can also provide recommendation regarding services for securely sharing data internally, discovering possible entry points and ways to shore up defenses you may not have considered before.
You can also work with your IT team to stress test your network (which is important for stymieing DDoS attacks), isolating outdated software and spotting malicious emails as they come in.
Then again, these suggestions don’t do much to secure the ground floor of your operation – your staff. As it turns out, your employees are actually one of the greatest risks to your healthcare cybersecurity. It’s not that they are malignant people, but rather that they lack the skills to properly avoid security issues.
Take a little time each month to discuss behavior changes your staff can make to improve the defenses of your operation. This should include password protocols, instructions on how to properly share sensitive data and how to spot deleterious software, emails and more.
Finally, your organization ought to invest in cybersecurity insurance for healthcare professionals. Even if you are hit by a hacker or your data leaks into the dark web, your insurance provider will have your back.
Check out CyberPolicy for more information. We will help you remedy those flaws.