Despite the staggering number of breaches in healthcare, cybersecurity remains a low fiscal priority for many healthcare executives.
As a result, healthcare organizations suffer costly cyber attacks and penalties—many of which could be prevented with the proper implementation of security policies and procedures. This article from HelpNetSecurity provides powerful insight on the importance of cybersecurity in healthcare and an in-depth look at how to improve those defenses.
Because the healthcare industry is embracing digitization—through remote visits, mobile apps, patient portals and more—it’s important to make complying with cybersecurity policies the path of least resistance for employees. By setting up clear and practical cybersecurity guidelines, medical providers can continue using technology on the job while ensuring patient data is handled securely.
Here are a few tips for healthcare organizations looking to improve their cybersecurity:
- Help executives and colleagues recognize the need for cybersecurity. Truly holistic patient care goes beyond a medical case—it also includes protecting patients’ sensitive data. Cyber threats are very real, and the consequences of a breach can harm both the organization and its patients. When healthcare professionals understand this, they are more apt to implement preventive cybersecurity measures.
- Encrypt all patient data. With the rise in mobile devices, medical professionals increasingly access patient data on the go. Encrypting that data and using a VPN connection outside the office makes it unreadable to an unauthorized user. This greatly reduces the risk of electronic protected health information (ePHI) being compromised.
- Start from the outside in. To assess your current state of cybersecurity, examine your environment from the perspective of an outside cyber criminal. Ask yourself, what’s visible from the internet or patient portal? How do we store and send private data? Next, tackle internal resources that an attacker could access if given a foothold on a user’s workstation or an unauthorized connection somewhere in your facility. Work with a cybersecurity expert to conduct a full security posture assessment, then take the steps to remediate those vulnerabilities. Keep the momentum going and begin mapping out your security program going for the long haul.
- Provide in-depth cybersecurity awareness training to employees. Staff members play a vital role in protecting an organization’s data. Train them to recognize phishing emails and suspicious network activity so they can be on the lookout for cyber threats. Ideally, conduct regular testing and tailor your training using test results and lessons learned.
For more information on how to protect your healthcare organization, contact us.