Years back, patient care was the sole motto of the healthcare industry. But in recent years, it has been noticed that this industry has become a tempting target for hackers. They try to obtain sensitive data of patients, and hence the next motto is to secure the healthcare industry’s data.
Research indicates that:
- The Healthcare Industry has the highest breach costs, with an average mitigation cost of $6.45 million.
- They cost 65% more than other data breaches.
- The per-record cost of a healthcare breach is $429.
Thus, data protection of healthcare records must be taken care of, and the concerned hospitals must follow the HIPAA Compliance Checklist and its Security Rules. Failure to do so may result in huge penalties. Hence, it’s wise to abide by the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) regulations and implement good healthcare security practices for protection against security breaches.
Let’s check out some of the best healthcare cybersecurity tips for securing patient data.
Ensure Cybersecurity Training for Staff:
The most pivotal factor is to ensure staff training for the secured handling of patient data. Brief the hospital staff on the security regulations of HIPAA and GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).
They should be aware of the healthcare industry’s multiple types of data breaches and their prevention techniques (discouraging file-sharing or unknown downloads) to secure patient information.
Regular updates of cybersecurity training and their timely evaluations to the employees may go a long way in preventing massive damages.
Never Ignore Software Updates:
Do you wish to leave your system unsecured and vulnerable to attacks?
If not, never postpone software updates.
Software updates patch up security vulnerabilities and secure your systems from unauthorized entries. Unfortunately, hackers can easily access outdated software, whereas they find it challenging to penetrate updated systems.
Restrict Access of Systems & Sensitive Data:
Limiting access to systems like EHR (Electronic Health Record) is very important since it is the healthcare data repository. Ensure to secure the device to prevent loss of patient data.
Ensure physical protection by restricting employee access to authorized persons and environmental protection by protecting the same from unwanted accidents like fire and water.
Sensitive data access can be restricted by using a complex password and biometric access controls like (palm vein, iris scan, etc.).
Even MFA (multi-factor authentication) can help restrict intruder access. Blocking employees from personal and official devices and installing a firewall for robust security are some additional security measures that can help prevent a data breach.
Monitoring of Access Records:
Though external threats are scary, it’s essential to focus on internal threats too.
- Ensure that only the authorized personnel can access the database.
- Monitor and keep logs of all access records for detecting suspicious activity.
- Ensure that your IT team blocks all ports, which can be gateways to compromised software.
- Monitor IoT (internet of things) devices and secure your endpoints as well as remote devices.
Use SSL Encryption Security:
SSL certificates portray trust just like the doctor-patient relationship. Your medical website and website data require SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption security to secure the patient data like health information, medical data, financial data, credit card information, etc.
This certificate encrypts all the client-server communications, making it difficult for the intruder to intercept the information.
SSL certificate is the secret key to gaining data privacy for your medical website. They come at budget-friendly rates and offer robust 256-bit encryption security.
Tip: The ideal certificate brands for your healthcare website are RapidSSL, Comodo SSL Certificate, GeoTrust, Thawte, etc., the best SSL certificate provider for securing data for any industry is unanimously CheapSSLShop. This leading SSL certificate provider offers various SSL products at cheap rates.
Use HTTPS (hyper-text transfer protocol secure) connections and display a padlock by installing an SSL certificate and secure your medical website from data breaches and MIM (man-in-middle) attacks.
Data Backup & Disaster Recovery:
Data breaches can destroy data availability, and sometimes it takes months to recover lost data. Apart from a breach, natural disasters, human errors, system crashes, etc., can also cause loss of pivotal information.
Data backup should be done on different premises, and the same should be secured with encryption as a part of the disaster recovery plan.
Cloud data services like NetApp make healthcare operations quicker by reducing EHR latency, fast backup and recovery, and organized data management.
Execute a Layered Defence System:
With the rise in healthcare breaches (599 in 2020, 55.1% rise compared to 2019), a single defense system is not enough to shield against intruders. Your healthcare website requires multiple layered defense systems to prevent hacker attacks.
Firewall security + Anti-virus software + physical security (surveillance cameras, security guards, locks, etc.) all these multiple securities are essential to prevent unauthorized access.
Even if one security is compromised, there are many more defense layers before the intruder can access data, making them shift to other easy-to-access sites.
Establish a Data Recovery Plan:
Suppose hackers have the upper hand and have accessed your systems via brute force or other security loopholes; your website is at risk of data exposure. In such cases, a data recovery plan helps in taking instant action.
It also permits the IT team to respond immediately in such a situation, thus preventing further damages.
Ensure that your employees know the cybersecurity protocols to be followed in such a situation to fasten the data recovery process.
Few More Tips:
- Secure your Mobile Devices
- Conduct Risk Assessments
- Secure your Passwords
- Monitor your Firewalls
No industry is safe from data breaches, and the same lies true for the healthcare industry too. Data breaches can pose a financial threat and an organizational threat, and hence it’s pivotal to secure patient data and information.
Cloud backups, regular employee training, installing anti-virus software, installing SSL certificate security, using strong passwords, encrypting passwords, and a well-framed disaster recovery plan can help in lessening the damages or nullifying the hacker-attacks.