Healthcare organizations and providers put a high priority on providing high-quality care for their patients’ health and wellbeing, but they frequently neglect to do the same when handling patients’ personally identifiable information (PII). That is not to imply that healthcare facilities and practices intentionally misuse sensitive data.

The reality is that when a breach happens, the practice has often taken at least some of the essential security precautions to meet the regulations, but nonetheless makes headlines and may be subject to significant fines.

Medical record security is a challenging task.

It involves a careful balancing of the technical expertise of IT teams, properly trained office or hospital workers, and even third-party vendors that support systems within an enterprise. It goes much beyond the minimum technical standards of HIPAA. These obligations are all too routinely neglected in healthcare settings, as evidenced by the most recent significant cyberattacks at health insurers, hospital networks, and medical facilities.

Nearly 90% of healthcare businesses experience data breaches, according to the sixth annual benchmark study on privacy & security of healthcare data by the Ponemon Institute.

Why do criminals target medical facilities?

Profit is the simple solution. Personal health information is very appealing since it has enduring significance. Consider it this way: If credit card information is stolen, the cardholder can cancel the card and report the loss or fraud to the credit bureaus right away, wiping off any potential future profits.

According to a survey from 2016, victims of medical identity theft had to pay an average of $13,500 to get the crime resolved. It’s critical to realize that these statistics and facts are known to cybercriminals. Due to attempts to take advantage of this, hackers who were previously thought of as lone individuals have coordinated their methods and are now operating their malicious activities like full-time enterprises. They have plenty of time and money committed to research and development, as well as well-funded labs.

How to prevent unwanted security incidents?

  • Encrypt everything.

When a staff member’s PC was stolen in the beginning of 2016, it was determined that about 400,000 records had been hacked since the documents were not encrypted. Electronic personal health information (ePHI), whether at rest or in transit, must comply with HIPAA technical requirements and be encrypted.

  • Defend yourself from ransomware.

As it was when we first started covering news about healthcare businesses becoming targets, ransomware is still an issue today.

  • Remove any unapproved equipment.

Due to the millions of apps accessible for users of all ages and the increase in devices being used worldwide, the risk of mobile threats and privacy problems continues to rise at alarming rates. According to Cisco, the number of people who own a mobile phone will surpass the number of people who have access to power and running water by the year 2020.

  • Verify any outside vendors.

Your systems could be safe, but what happens if you need outside help to solve a problem? To keep you and your data safe and secure, be sure that any suppliers you work with adhere to the security standards for the technology they employ. The term “vendor as vector” refers to a method of breaching multiple clients at once by targeting an IT vendor for a smaller practice or a healthcare system directly.

  • Acquire breach detection and response in real time.

This is a very recent inclusion because it’s a pricey technology that’s sometimes out of reach for many smaller practices and businesses. Technology advancements have led to affordable breach detection and response solutions for SMBs.

  • Utilize the most recent security data and event management (SIEM).

SIEM has emerged as a crucial tool for thwarting fraudsters and informing healthcare organizations about ominous network activities. Millions of logs produced by all the systems and devices in the infrastructure are ingested by SIEM platforms, which then process them for you in real time. The right SIEM solutions can quickly warn you to a threat in real-time, stop an attack in its tracks, and trace it back to the original source device.

It is time for the industry to utilize these cutting-edge tools together with the services required to use them effectively in order to keep them safer and better protected from the constant attacks—creating a stronger security posture and promoting patient trust.