How to Mitigate Four Major Cyber Security Risks in Healthcare

How can organizations protect against cyber security risks in healthcare?
How can organizations protect against cyber security risks in healthcare?

Healthcare systems are highly targeted by cyber criminals. At the same time, keeping sensitive data like electronic health records (EHRs) secure is more important than ever, both to protect patients and to stay compliant with regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Making cyber security risks in healthcare even more complicated is the evolving nature of the threats faced by healthcare systems. Mobile security, ransomware attacks, data breaches, and other threats have become more common. What do healthcare organizations need to know to stay protected?

Protect Your Healthcare Organization From These Cyber Security Risks

Sensitive patient data can be compromised in a number of different ways. Healthcare organizations need to be aware of these vulnerabilities, and how to keep data protected.

  1. Ransomware. Healthcare systems aren’t invulnerable to ransomware attacks. And because of the sensitive nature of the applications, programs, and data on the network at a healthcare organization, falling victim to a ransomware attack has particularly dire consequences.

    To mitigate the severity of the impact of a ransomware attack, healthcare systems can turn to virtualization. Having file sync and file share programs as well as a continuous backup system minimizes the effects of this threat.
  2. Malware and Phishing. Employees at any type of organization can fall prey to a phishing attack, but the negative impact can be even more profound at healthcare systems. With just a click on a link, sensitive patient information can be exposed.

    Employee education is critical here, so that staff is trained to recognize a phishing attempt and avoid clicking on links or opening emails that could expose the network. It’s also key to have a strong password management program in place that involves not only guidelines for password strength, but also for the frequency with which passwords must be changed.
  3. Mobile Devices. BYOD is becoming more common in healthcare, adding another layer of complexity to security risks. Not all devices being used on the network meet security standards, leaving the network vulnerable to malware and hackers. Further, any lost or stolen mobile device used to access the network is a liability. If your healthcare system allows for mobile device usage, strict guidelines must be implemented.

    Security at the wireless device level is greatly enhanced by mobile device management (MDM). With MDM, patches, updates, and policies can be instantly implemented across an entire fleet of mobile devices.
  4. Improper Disposal of Hardware. When any hardware used to access EHRs is disposed of inadequately, the data therein is still vulnerable. Hard drives and other hardware that’s been used to access the network must be disposed of properly to ensure all data is no longer accessible to unauthorized users.

Cyber security risks in healthcare can be mitigated if the right actions are taken and proper steps put in place. At PAG, our auditing process can find savings at your healthcare organization that you can use to improve both cyber security and the patient experience.

Learn more about about how a telecom audit can save you money so you can spend what you need to on shoring up cyber security measures and investing in your patients.

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