How Healthcare Organizations Can Solve Cybersecurity Issues

How Healthcare Organizations Can Solve Cybersecurity Issues

Cybersecurity is of prime importance for any healthcare firm; cyberattacks and data breaches in the healthcare sector are always on the rise, with hackers targeting medical records and personal data of patients. Reports and surveys say that the number of healthcare records exposed to data breaches in 2018 would come to around 13 million. To be remembered is the fact that it’s people’s health that’s at direct risk when a healthcare firm falls victim to a cyberattack.

Thus, it becomes important that healthcare organizations do all that is necessary to combat cybercrime. Here’s a look at some important aspects pertaining to fighting cybercrime, relevant for any healthcare organization….

Advanced, evolving defenses needed!

Advanced defense technology is needed to combat cybercrime in today’s world, with cybercriminals turning advanced and adopting all kinds of sophisticated technology.

Ransomware is one thing that healthcare organizations should always be prepared to combat. When WannaCry struck, in May 2017, one among the first victims and one of the largest agencies impacted was the National Health Service hospitals in England and Scotland, with many non-critical emergencies affected and ambulances being diverted. Ransomware attacks are on the rise in the sector. Cybercriminals are now coming up with different kinds of clever phishing scams targeting healthcare organizations. Unsuspecting employees are lured into opening phishing emails and clicking on malicious links, opening attachments and even into entering login credentials on fake phishing pages, thereby paving the way for massive data breaches. Hence, healthcare firms must go for all kinds of advanced, evolving defenses to combat cybercrime.

Proper training of employees a must!

As we have already mentioned, it’s employees who are targeted by hackers carrying out phishing scams. It’s not just about phishing scams. Even otherwise, it’s employees who play a key role in ensuring cybersecurity, for any firm. Thus, it becomes important that healthcare firms pay attention to training employees on all aspects of cybersecurity and educating them about cybersecurity. This is of utmost importance.

Choose the right kind of tools

The choice of the tools involved, for data security as well as for data storage, is of critical importance. The tools and applications that a healthcare firm uses for processing, sharing and storing of patients’ data (Protected Health Information) should adhere to HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) regulations. Similarly, a healthcare firm should always choose only the best of solutions when it comes to cybersecurity; this includes every tool involved, from antivirus to endpoint security software.

Look far, look closer as well…

Threats come from outside as well as from within an organization. On the one side, a healthcare firm should be well equipped to fight attacks that come from outside and hence have all kinds of defenses set up. At the same time, extreme care must be taken to ward off threats coming from within an organization or from sources close to it. Things like access control to critical data, effective password management, data monitoring etc are key to ensuring cybersecurity and for combating threats from the inside. Similarly, in today’s era, when BYOD, IoT etc are very much in vogue, efforts must be taken to ensure that every single device that’s connected to the organizational network, including employees’ personal devices, is secure. Moreover, it’s absolutely necessary to have stringent rules and policies for ensuring proper cybersecurity.

An organization, to ensure comprehensive cybersecurity, must also keep tabs on vendors, third-party business associates etc since they could also pave the way for cyberattacks and breaches.

Don’t forget compliance and audits

Compliance to security regulations plus regular audits that are necessary to detect security issues and plug them are of utmost importance. Don’t forget to do these and don’t ever compromise on compliance-related matters. It’s all about people’s health and lives!

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Julia Sowells960 Posts

Julia Sowells has been a technology and security professional. For a decade of experience in technology, she has worked on dozens of large-scale enterprise security projects, and even writing technical articles and has worked as a technical editor for Rural Press Magazine. She now lives and works in New York, where she maintains her own consulting firm with her role as security consultant while continuing to write for Hacker Combat in her limited spare time.

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