Healthcare Cyber Security: 5 Ways It Can Be Improved

The best way to ensure that a health organization is maintaining the security of their patient’s data without spending beyond their IT budget requires that they implement efficient and effective solutions.

If you are looking to work with robust security solutions it is important that you draft a multilayered strategy which addresses remote and local patient environments but also considers the maturation of cyber threats as the IT industry progresses.

Now telehealth is used by specialists who work at major medical centers to consult with doctors who sit at smaller hospitals. It is not just video conferencing, but the transference of medical records as well, usually for a second opinion on a case.

Telehealth primarily caters to the gap in communication or accessibility between doctors and patients who reside in rural areas. Every such consultation ends with an exchange of a lot of information, the security and privacy of which is extremely important.

Most of the times it is the patients that use the unsecured connection, which makes the data vulnerable to being hacked by cyber thieves. Worst case scenarios include the cybercriminals holding all data hostage, or changing the information altogether. Healthcare is the least prepared industry in the United States for cybersecurity.

To eradicate the chances of data breaches here are five ways you can improve your cybersecurity.

1. Begin by Reviewing your Strategy

Advanced tools for cybersecurity are a waste in places where you have missed basic tackling steps in your strategy. For instance, you may have incorporated a comprehensive firewall logging, but you must also include patch management in your plan. On top of this, small details such as access management and password protection are very important.

When you are drafting new strategies it is imperative that you start the assessment with topics such as authentication controls, email security, and firewalls. The management should also take steps to ensure that there are policies in place for password management for everyone involved in telehealth. You start with the basics and then build up to a stronger fort against cybercrime.

2. Update Cyber Security Tools on a Daily Basis

Cybersecurity systems keep your systems safe from getting hacked, but just having cybersecurity systems in place is not enough. One must also update and maintain all of these tools so that they ensure that they have processes that work and thwart threats. For example, your health organization may have done a great job at installing one endpoint security tool, but if they do not update it on a timely basis then the tool will stop being effective.

Whenever existing tech detects suspicious activity it is absolutely necessary to respond to it immediately. The only way the system can detect these things in the first place is if they have the right updates.

3. Train Staff and Assess Risks

The most breaches that occur in any industry is through email. According to one cybersecurity report by HIMSS, around 62% of healthcare organizations identified the email as the first point of a breach.

Unsuspecting employees who do not work in the IT department might not even be able to detect the threat, which is another vulnerability cybercriminals are banking on. Therefore on top of implementing cybersecurity tool, it is equally important to train employees so that they may be able to sniff phishing attempts. Staff must be trained to never click suspicious links, which is how malware enters your network.

A neat idea would be to take on phishing simulations which will help make employees learn the protocol and help management understand the level of awareness in their organization.

4. Improve Resources

A health organization might have the most complex and up to date cybersecurity tools but they would still lack an important element and that is integration. Effective integration is one area where organizations may need third-party help.

A cybersecurity gap analysis is great for finding existing firewall policies which may not be as effective and therefore can be immediately improved with an expert’s help. You can also use this help for learning emerging cybersecurity tools.

5. Use Productive Tools

Most managers believe that productivity and security have never worked together, and for many strategies this is true. However, there are plenty of cyber security tools that offer security as well as the promise to maintain staff productivity. For example, using a secure messaging service tool within the telehealth system that eradicates the need for the physician to ever use their personal phones to relay information to their clients.

At the end of the day, healthcare organizations must pro-actively put into place the best cybersecurity practices. Right now there is no mandated safety measure, just guidelines. If a breach occurs the organization must be equipped with its own responsibilities and protocol on eliminating the compromise.