Healthcare Cybersecurity: Tips for Securing Private Health Data

The cybersecurity market is growing at a rate of 8%. According to 2019 research, it is expected to grow from $66.86 billion in 2019 to $91.09 by 2023. This paradigm shift has happened because of the inadequacy of cybersecurity agencies to counter cyberattacks.

Cybercrimes are at an all-time high in 2021 and have now started affecting the healthcare industry in a big way.

Every industry is gradually starting to move online. Similarly, the healthcare industry has also embraced a cloud-based approach for maintaining customer records instead of traditional means. Before we begin with the tips to protect your healthcare venture, let us understand what challenges businesses face.

5 Healthcare Cybersecurity Challenges that Organizations Fac

Ransomware challenge

Healthcare organizations keep getting challenged at every step. Cybercriminals ask them to lend the desired money (ransom) in exchange for the information they stole from the device. The data can be critical customer data or research papers.

Cloud hacking

A large chunk of data nowadays gets stored on the cloud by healthcare businesses. While the cloud is a safe means to store data, it isn’t unbreachable. Hackers can still find loopholes and steal critical information. If the cloud company does not employ the latest methods, the data can get compromised.

Misleading URLs

Although search engines like Google work hard to tackle plagiarism, they fail to stop hackers from creating replicas of healthcare brands’ websites. Some hackers replace .gov with .com and make the website look identical. If customers/patients trust such websites, the results can be devastating. The hackers can obtain critical information and sell it on the black market.

Phishing emails

Cybercriminals send substantial emails to original customers/patients asking them to share their information. The emails are meant to look the same as those sent from a company. If the prospects get trapped in the mix of things, they will leave their information vulnerable in the bad guys’ hands. Healthcare companies have to work hard to make their emails look original from that of the hackers.

Employee incompetence

Employees are humans, which is why they can make catastrophic mistakes. Unencrypted devices, weak passwords, and free admin access are common reasons behind security breaches. Healthcare organizations have to train their employees for all possible attacks to avoid mishaps.

5 Tips for Securing Private Health Data

1.           Train your medical staff

As we mentioned in the point above, training your staff is of the utmost value to prevent data breaches and mishaps.

The best way to do this is by hiring a consultant who can address your staff’s capability to tackle situations and undertake the necessary steps to improve their competence.

Trained staff will have the necessary knowledge to understand and repel a cyberattack by ignoring phishing emails and reporting replica websites of their healthcare organization.

They will also adhere to strong passwords, strong encryption, and restricting admin access to prevent an attacker from accessing all such information.

2.          Switch to a wildcard SSL certificate

It is good to have a regular SSL certificate installed on your healthcare website but, what about all the subdomains of your website?

A healthcare organization can have multiple subdomains such as a consultancy website, pharmacy website, and registration website.

A regular SSL certificate cannot protect all these subdomains. Instead, it is best to install a wildcard SSL that provides equal protection to all subdomains. Wildcard SSL is cost-effective and robust compared to a regular certificate, which is why it is an appropriate choice for healthcare firms.

3.           Use healthcare software to protect patient data.

Healthcare organizations must comply with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability or HIPAA guidelines, an authorized body that protects patient data.

If a patient’s data gets leaked from your organization, the results can be catastrophic. The patient can always sue the organization in court for the unauthorized leakage of his/her information. To avoid such a situation, healthcare businesses need to use healthcare software that can systematically manage patient data at all times.

Also, no unauthorized health professional or employee must have access to sensitive patient information.

4.           Assess the risk regularly

Risk management is essential if you want to know the loopholes in your organizational structure. Risk management will allow you to know the places from which you can expect an enemy invasion.

If your own IT team is competent enough, you can make risk assessment a habit in your organization. However, if your team is incompetent to assess risks, you can always hire an organization that can perform a risk assessment.

A risk assessment will help repel any attack and fix loopholes in your organization, turning it into an unbreachable fortress.

5.           Maintain a multiple-layer security

Just like you have multiple locks to protect your home similarly, there should be a multi-layer defence system for your healthcare organization too. One security layer can be your wildcard SSL, but additional firewall security is always a big plus.

Similarly, you can add extra layers of security on all levels to make a robust and secure infrastructure for your organization. In case a hacker manages to sweep through one level of security, he/she will get stuck with the next layer.

Till that time, you can quickly figure out his intentions through breach reports submitted by the firewall.

Conclusion

Cybersecurity will be a big issue in 2021, thanks to the technological advancements taking place every day. In the healthcare industry, where everything from a patient’s report to the consultation is getting held online, cybersecurity should be rock solid.

To maintain an adequate security level, every healthcare organization needs to run a self-assessment check to figure out the system’s loopholes. Ventures should employ new healthcare software that can keep their patient’s data protected.

For overall website security, organizations should buy wildcard SSLs from companies like SSL2BUY that offer authentic certificates at budget-friendly rates. So, brace yourself for 2021 by employing these five tips for your healthcare business security.

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John King, CISSP, PMP, CISM

John King currently works in the greater Los Angeles area as a ISSO (Information Systems Security Officer). John has a passion for learning and developing his cyber security skills through education, hands on work, and studying for IT certifications.

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