It's Official, Cyber Risks Are the Biggest Threat to Healthcare

If you had to guess, what would you say is the biggest threat to healthcare today? Could it be the outbreak of some terrible illness? Could it be a talent gap in the industry?

According to the latest report from the ECRI Institute, cybersecurity threats pose the biggest healthcare hazard. Sure, many people associate healthcare with Band-Aids and vaccines. But insiders know the industry is increasingly reliant on technology to store and share information, including patient data.

This creates a need for cyber insurance for medical practices. Cyber insurance covers financial damages brought on by data breaches or cyberattacks, which would otherwise be fronted by the practice. That's a strain best to be avoided.

Ransomware is the hottest attack right now. According to Modern Healthcare, it's up 12.5 percent from last year.

"This issue needs to be tackled by all different departments within a healthcare facility," said ECRI's product officer Juuso Leinonen in an interview with Modern Health. "The collaboration between different departments, even the clinicians, is key to successful cybersecurity."

This problem is only expected to get worse in the coming years. Especially with the advent of mega ransomware attacks such as NotPetya and WannaCry.

Meanwhile, data breach is still a real and relevant problem. According to CNBC, the black-market price for stolen medical records is ten times the value of a stolen credit card.

Sure, a credit card might be 'real money.' But they are easy to cancel, quick to expire, and are constantly monitored for fraudulent activity. Medical records enjoy none of the benefits. The information contained includes Social Security numbers, which never expire, never change, and are prime real estate (so to speak) in identity theft.

Imagine treating a patient and getting them back to full health, only to see them suffer the ravages of identity theft. Knowing it was due to a security breach targeting your organization is a scary thought.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to save yourself from becoming a hacker's next victim. One of the main reasons the healthcare industry is being targeted by cyber crooks is it is notoriously lagging in cybersecurity.

While you can't force the industry forward, you can do more to protect your practice from cyber threats. This means:

  • Training your staff to eschew suspicious emails, attachments, software downloads, and requests.
  • Investing more resources in basic defense solutions such as firewalls, virtual private networks, antivirus and antimalware software, spam filters, and more.
  • Encrypting all data, at rest and in transit.
  • Adopting password-protected cloud technologies.
  • Staying up to date on the cybersecurity news most relevant to your industry.

These adjustments will work wonders for the cyber resiliency of your practice. That being said, there is no cure-all for cybersecurity hazards. If you want to stay safe, you'll need to invest in cyber insurance for medical practices as soon as possible.

Visit CyberPolicy for your free quote today!

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