The healthcare space is a popular target for cyberthreats that put patient safety at risk. Patient health information (PHI), personal identifying information like Social Security Numbers, and financial information make healthcare organizations especially vulnerable – which makes cybersecurity safety even more important! We’ve gathered the top tips for cybersecurity safety in the healthcare space!
The Threat of Cybercrime to Healthcare
Did you know that stolen health records sell for up to times more than stolen credit card numbers? As mentioned before, the healthcare space is a prime target for cybercrime because a hack gives criminals access to a plethora of valuable information. Failing to protect electronic health records puts an organization and their patients/clients at major risk.
When there is a privacy breach pertaining to personal health information, the organization responsible can face severe penalties under HIPAA’s Privacy and Security Rules. Even worse, losing access to a patient’s information and health records due to a ransomware attack can put that patient’s care and safety in jeopardy.
Tips for Promoting Cybersecurity Safety
1. Control and Limit Access
The obvious approach to security is keeping a close watch on who can come in and out! When it comes to cybersecurity, access exists on many planes. There is physical access to files, systems, and locations. There is also network access and the policies that establish how protected information should be accessed.
One of the most common methods of gaining unauthorized access to information is through stolen devices or misplaced items falling into the wrong hands. Physical security can be established by storing valuable information and devices within locked rooms and limiting access to physical keys or establishing a restricted area. In the cyber realm of networks and peer-to-peer file sharing, investing in a VPN or encrypting communication can be a great first step in controlling network access. Limit access to the network by not allowing guest devices to connect and by prohibiting staff from installing software without prior vetting and approval.
Finally, it’s important to cybersecurity to keep access to protected health information on a “need to know” basis. Setting file permissions, passwords, and an access control list ensures that only those with authorized rights to the system can access information. That’s secure!
2. Practice Routine Device Maintenance
A phone or computer that is regularly updated is much easier to keep secure. Cybercriminals create viruses that exploit the vulnerabilities of a device. Installing vetted anti-virus products is the first step to greater security, then the software must be kept up to date so that it may work to constantly provide updated protection. It may seem like an inconvenience to pause and make time for a sometimes lengthy software update, but it’s a worthwhile investment of time!
3. Cybersecurity Safety Starts With You
There’s a saying in the world of cybersecurity safety — the weakest link in any security system is the user. Human error and a lack of cybersecurity savvy is the greatest threat to healthcare organizations and the sensitive information they safeguard. Businesses and organizations can lay the foundation for comprehensive education to help each member of their team stay aware and alert, when it comes to cybersecurity threats. Keep the training frequent and ongoing, instill good password policies to encourage lifelong cybersecurity safety habits, and reinforce best practices on any business-owned device (even for remote workers!)
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