As the world becomes increasingly digitized, so does the healthcare industry. From patient records to confidential medical research, there is a wealth of sensitive information that healthcare organizations are in charge of storing.
While technology facilitates medical record creation, storage, and transmission, it comes with risks. In the last 12 years, over 300,000,0000 medical records have been affected by data breaches.
We’ll provide a few helpful cybersecurity tips, so your medical practice can successfully avoid cyberattacks.
Why Do Cybercriminals Target the Healthcare Industry?
Cybercriminals target the healthcare industry because of the wealth of sensitive information they have stored for patients. Bad actors want that data because it is some of the most confidential and valuable information available, and they can use this information to blackmail patients, steal identities, and commit other fraud for financial gain.
Last year alone, there were over 700 reported data breaches by the healthcare industry. There are several ways cybercriminals can gain access to healthcare data, including email phishing, malware attacks, and ransomware. Healthcare organizations are often slow to respond to cyber threats, leaving themselves vulnerable.
Knowing and implementing cybersecurity tips can help you prevent cyberattacks in the first place and save you and your practice stress and resources in the long-run.
5 Cybersecurity Tips for Healthcare Organizations
There are steps that your medical team can take in order to further protect the security of the healthcare data being stored. Applying these measures can prevent damaging threats from disrupting your operations and compromising important patient data.
- Establish a Plan for Cybersecurity
A cybersecurity plan is a great first step in protecting your healthcare organization from cyber threats. The plan should include procedures for identifying and responding to cyber threats, as well as guidelines for safeguarding electronic data.
You should also have a plan of action for instances when data breaches or infrastructural damage might occur so your staff is able to work efficiently to mitigate damage and get your systems up-and-running again as quickly as possible.
- Manage and Limit Access
One effective way of protecting your healthcare organization from cyber threats is by managing and limiting access to the sensitive patient and medical information being stored. Limiting access to authorized personnel can help prevent unauthorized individuals from accessing and stealing data.
You should also limit access to physical areas where confidential information is stored, like physical filing systems and servers. Only authorized personnel should have keys or access codes to these areas.
- Training and Executing Computer Safety
Employees are often the first line of defense against cyber threats, so it’s important to provide them with training on how to identify and avoid potential threats. Medical staff need to be aware of the various types of cyberattacks that are possible, as well as the methods hackers use to gain access to data. Protecting their patients’ private information is an extension of their overall care.
It’s also important to have procedures in place so employees know how to respond if they believe their computer has been compromised. These procedures should include steps for preserving evidence and contacting the proper authorities.
Regularly updating your software and systems is also essential for maintaining computer safety. Cybercriminals are constantly finding new ways to exploit weaknesses in software, so it’s important to keep systems up-to-date with the latest security patches.
- Password Security
Using strong passwords and changing them frequently is crucial to maintaining cybersecurity, especially in healthcare organizations.
Some cybersecurity tips for creating strong passwords include:
1. Use a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols in your passwords.
2. Make your passwords at least 8 characters long.
3. Avoid using personal information like your birthdate or mother’s maiden name.
4. Use different passwords for different accounts.
5. Store passwords in a secure location, like a password manager.
6. Don’t share your passwords.
- Firewall Protection
A computer firewall is a security system that is used to protect a computer or network from unwarranted access. It works by blocking incoming and outgoing traffic from unauthorized sources. Firewalls can be software or hardware-based and are often used in businesses and organizations to protect sensitive data.
Firewalls are essential for blocking attacks from hackers who are trying to gain access to your systems. Many healthcare organizations use firewall protection to secure their networks and patient data in conjunction with other security measures.
Bonus Cybersecurity Tip: Partner with a Cybersecurity Provider that Knows Your Industry
Even if your healthcare organization follows all of the best cybersecurity practices, there is always a risk of a data breach. The best way to protect against these risks is by partnering with a reliable cybersecurity provider.
A cybersecurity provider like Stasmayer, that specializes in IT support, IT strategy, and IT security, will have the knowledge and experience the healthcare industry needs. Contact us today to see how we can protect your practice from cyberattacks.