Healthcare has changed tremendously in the past few years, and the progress that’s being made seems straight from the pages of a sci-fic novel. Not too long ago, health records were kept in thick manila folders, and now many patients access their medical histories and test results via online portals which has increased healthcare security.
Although this abundance and availability of data is great for patients, it’s even better for hackers.As the healthcare industry evolves with new technology and legislation, the security threat to our most personal data is also changing.
Threats in HealthCare Systems
The interconnected nature of modern healthcare creates IT security risks — namely that consolidating so much essential data in a field that nearly all people use makes it a conspicuous mark for hackers and cybercriminals. In fact, the importance of data security in healthcare has never been more pronounced.
Now more than ever, medical organizations must be vigilant in establishing safeguards against online threats, which is why it’s imperative to have a solid understanding of the risks and protections available.
Why Are Healthcare Information Systems a Target for Threats?
Healthcare cyber threats are a major problem for a few reasons:
- In addition to a patient’s records, medical provider networks can contain valuable financial information.
- Since there are very few people who do not see healthcare providers, nearly everyone’s personal information is available in some form.
- The interconnected nature of EHRs means hackers have access to the data that has collected under patients’ names for years.
- The staff members
- Malware and phishing attempts
- Unsecured mobile devices
- Lost and stolen mobile devices
- Unrestricted access to computers
Why is Security Important in Healthcare?
Data security is an essential part of the healthcare industry for protecting confidential patient information and complying with regulations like those mandated by HIPAA. As such, better security solutions are needed to help reduce the risks of malicious data attacks or technical failure.
How Can Healthcare Organizations Minimize Security Threats?
All data should be encrypted so third parties cannot access information during transmission or when in storage:
- Understand Your Network Map
- Update Your Software
- Virtual Private Network Encryption
- Set Strict Access
- Use Professional Services
Healthcare data security is an important element of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Rules. The HIPAA Security Rule requires covered entities to assess data security controls by conducting a risk assessment, and implement a risk management program to address any vulnerabilities that are identified.