By 2024, the value of cyber security’s market is predicted to reach $300 billion. Cybercrime is growing, and the cybercrime economy profits at least $1.5 trillion in profit each year.
Unfortunately, the health care industry is one of the most attacked industries. In 2018, out of all ransomware attacks in the United States, the healthcare industry was a victim of 88% of them.
Data breaches are becoming increasingly common. They cost the United States an average of $6.2 billion.
That’s why healthcare security now and in the future, is so essential. But how can you stay safe at your establishment?
Keep reading to uncover the best practices and protocols for staying safe.
Invest in Risk Assessment
Before you do anything else, you should perform a risk assessment of your healthcare practice. Every possible risk has to be identified in order for you to make your practice more secure.
You will need to put a clear plan in place to deal with all of the potential risks. From there, you should also have plans outlined for what the immediate protocol is, should a breach happen.
What Are the Most Common Risks to Consider?
When you perform a risk assessment of your practice, make sure you know what to look for or hire someone who does. That being said, here are some of the most common risks associated with healthcare facilities.
- Data loss due to hardware failure or software bugs
- Viruses, malware, and ransomware threats that are introduced unintentionally because of internet use and infected devices that are connected to the network
- Active attempts that are happening and done by hackers in order to infiltrate your network security or to steal information
- Corruption or theft of data done deliberately by employees
- Theft of equipment that contains confidential records, stolen deliberately by employees
- Confidential data being viewed accidentally by unauthorized people
- Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDOS) attacks made in an attempt to crash your practice’s servers
Hire a Specialist
If you’re performing a risk assessment, you want a professional to lead the way – someone who is an expert in cybersecurity and how to enforce it.
While it might cost you a decent amount to hire a specialist, look for someone who can handle it all. If that person or company can also handle the privacy sector of your practice, it’s one less thing you have to think about.
Furthermore, if they can train your staff accordingly and help develop corresponding plans should an attack be attempted, you’ll be even more protected.
Make Sure You Have Contingency Plans
At some point or another, something will go wrong. Whether it’s due to an attack by a hacker or because of an employee mistake, sooner or later, it’s inevitable that security could be breached in some form.
Every practice should have a comprehensive back-up plan that relevant employees are prepared for and understand.
When you’re going through your risk assessment, you should determine what information will need to be backed up should there be a breach and exactly how you will back that information up.
You could store records in a cloud space or invest in a healthcare management system that includes data archival solutions. Should there be a natural disaster, you also want to be prepared to restore those back-ups.
Evaluate and Audit Regularly
Cybersecurity is an on-going, active process. Hackers are constantly finding new ways to breach security systems.
Regular evaluations and assessments of your practices and security protocols and technology will ensure that you don’t become victim to an attack. Once you put a plan into place, monitor it to see how things are working and make necessary changes accordingly.
And remember, it isn’t just about making sure that all of your devices and hard drives are secure. Security is all related, and you want to make sure that your practice is physically secure as well. There are many options for hospitals when it comes to that physical security as well.
Some Common Practices That Will Help
There are some common and easy things that you can do at your practice to benefit your hospital security. Some of these are as follows.
Ensure that your passwords are strong. Don’t use passwords, addresses, or things that are easy to guess. Make sure you incorporate a variety of letters, numbers, and symbols into your passwords as well.
Make sure that you change those same passwords regularly. This applies to wireless network passwords and medical software alike.
Disable or remove accounts that are no longer necessary, especially for employees that no longer work at your practice.
Don’t install any unvetted software. Malware and ransomware is becoming so prevalent that it’s not worth taking the risk.
Restrict access to questionable websites. Administration can do this easily.
Restrict employee access to physical ports. USB flash drives, for example, provide easy ways for machines to become infected or have data stolen. If you do have to allow access, make sure you perform a mandatory scan on all data that’s on the drive.
Don’t use outdated software. Perform necessary security updates and update your software or you’ll be leaving yourself more vulnerable to breaches and crashes.
Make sure that all your data is encrypted. Make sure all mobile devices and hard drives have encryption enabled. Make sure that patient data is never stored in unencrypted form.
Healthcare Security Is Essential for You and Your Patients
Because the healthcare industry is one of the most vulnerable industries when it comes to cyber attacks, setting up a great healthcare security system is essential for your practice.
Don’t just do it all at the back end of everything. Integrate it into common practice and everyday movements. If your staff is trained, and you have a plan in place, it can make things that much less detrimental, should you experience an attack or a crash.
The first step is to perform a risk assessment. Once you start that, you’ll be one step closer to keeping your practice secure. Curious to learn more about healthcare security? Be sure to check out our blog!
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