6 Cyber Strategies for Keeping Your Health Information Safe

6 Cyber Strategies for Keeping Your Health Information Safe

Cyber attacks targeting healthcare organizations were expected to increase by 50% by 2023. With the average cost of a data breach costingover $4 million, each attack is more than a simple breach of trust.

HIPAA standards and data regulations only go so far. If you keep up with IT news, you’ll know that healthcare organizations need to take further steps to protect their data effectively.

What can you do?

1. Create a Security Culture

Creating a security culture and educating the end user is the foundation of any cybersecurity plan. Human error accounts for most data breaches, and many cyberattacks begin with spear-phishing emails.

Ensure that everyone within your organization, from staff to patients, understands the significance of cybersecurity and their role in it. Regular training can keep everyone informed of the latest threats and best practices.

2. Implement Password Management

While strong passwords won’t prevent attacks, they can hinder them. Weak passwords are one of the most common vulnerabilities. There is a reason most systems require a nonsensical password containing letters, numbers, and symbols.

These can be difficult to remember and should be changed often so implement a password management tool to help generate and store complex passwords securely.

3. Control Access

Limiting access to sensitive health information is critical. There are two options that can add an extra layer of defense.

Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) Systems. You will need to regularly review and update permissions as job roles change or employees leave the organization.

Limit Network Access. Wireless routers at health systems should operate in encrypted mode, making them only accessible to permitted devices that can pick up their signal.

4. Increase Security

Two of the most common ways are Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) or Zero Trust security models.

Multi-Factor Authentication

MFA requires users to provide multiple forms of identification before granting access. This is done in the form of a password and a second authentication factor.

Zero Trust Security

Zero Trust assumes that threats can originate from both inside and outside the network and continuously verifies user identities and device trustworthiness.

5. Secure Mobile Devices

Mobile devices have become indispensable in healthcare. But, they also present significant security challenges.

They are not only vulnerable to attack, but theft and corruption. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) created guidance addressing the risks.

Essentially, if a mobile device must be used, it should be encrypted. It is also smart to ensure they are equipped with remote wipe capabilities and excellent security software.

6. Keep Software Updated and Monitor Third-Party Connections

Outdated software employs outdated protocols and poses a significant security risk. It is essential to regularly update all software and OS within your healthcare environment, including third-party applications.

You should also conduct regular vulnerability assessments and patch management and monitor all third-party connections that have access to your systems.

Stay Smart. Stay Safe.

Cyber threats are constantly evolving. Safeguarding health information in the digital age requires a proactive and comprehensive approach to cybersecurity. Being proactive and vigilant can significantly reduce the risk of data breaches and protect the health information you compile.