The sensitive patient data stored in healthcare networks is a goldmine for hackers. As such, cybersecurity measures need to be strong and proactive.
Encrypting devices that hold PHI and establishing strict mobile device policies can prevent breaches. Multi-factor authentication and password policies are also important. Lastly, regular updates and patching help reduce vulnerabilities.
Security Awareness Training
Keeping hackers at bay requires more than just technology; it also takes a team of employees who are aware of the threats and who know how to prevent them. Healthcare organizations must implement security awareness training programs for all staff members, including the receptionist and the CEO.
Ensure that devices that hold patient data are encrypted. Too many data breaches occur because an unencrypted device such as a laptop, phone, or tablet is lost or stolen, providing the perfect entry point for cybercriminals. It is essential to enforce a policy that forbids employees from carrying data on personal devices.
Segment the network to restrict access and prevent lateral movement of malware. This will require a bit more work for IT staff to maintain, but it’s essential to the integrity of the healthcare communication network. Ensure that the network is protected with firewalls and intrusion detection systems and that updates are regularly applied.
Develop an incident response plan and disaster recovery strategy for a breach or attack. This will help minimize the impact of a disruption and preserve patient trust. It is critical to back up data regularly, as well. It is also helpful to conduct mock cybersecurity incidents so that healthcare personnel can become familiar with the steps they must take in an emergency.
Comprehensive healthcare IT networking solutions are critical as healthcare networks grow in complexity. With real-time endpoint orchestration at its core, this approach should be at the foundation of any network merger or acquisition, helping ensure that patients’ information remains protected.
Many data breaches in healthcare occur when a device that holds patient information is stolen or lost. Encrypting all devices that could hold healthcare data, including laptops, tablets, and USB drives, is a best practice to prevent this breach. This should be accompanied by a policy prohibiting employees from carrying unencrypted devices from work to home.
Healthcare employees often use their mobile devices to access the network, which can be challenging for IT teams to manage securely. Implementing a unified endpoint management (UEM) solution is essential to provide device and data visibility, including what’s being downloaded and what applications are used on each device. This can help to identify unusual activity and take action quickly to mitigate risk.
Healthcare organizations must also protect their systems against phishing, ransomware, and malware. This ensures that only legitimate employees can access the healthcare network. This is a vital part of HIPAA compliance and can be achieved through strong user authentication, which requires users to verify their identities before gaining access to the network.
A strong network monitoring strategy is an essential component of any cybersecurity program. Healthcare IT infrastructure is especially vulnerable to attack because it relies on interoperability, which requires constant data sharing between different systems and devices. This makes them an easy target for hackers who can access sensitive patient information and use it for fraud, identity theft, or other malicious purposes.
Another common threat facing healthcare IT networks is malware, which can be introduced to a system through phishing emails, malicious websites, or infected software. Robust access controls, encrypting data, and conducting regular risk assessments are crucial to reducing the threat of malware in a healthcare environment.
In addition to external threats, healthcare organizations must be prepared for insider attacks. These can be intentional or accidental and account for a large percentage of data breaches in the healthcare sector. Employees may share data outside the organization, accidentally save sensitive information to personal devices, or fail to log out after leaving work. This attack can be mitigated by implementing strict access control policies and training employees on cybersecurity best practices.
A robust network monitoring solution is the most effective method for preventing these attacks.
Secure Messaging Solutions
As healthcare organizations work to protect patient privacy and comply with regulations like HIPAA, they must also implement strong security measures for their communication networks. This includes implementing security strategies like zero trust networking (ZTNA), employee training, and regular updates to software. Additionally, segmenting healthcare networks and having a disaster recovery plan is essential.
Cyber threats to healthcare data include phishing attacks, ransomware attacks, and data breaches. These attacks can result in hackers stealing or manipulating sensitive information and demanding a ransom to restore access. Another major threat to healthcare data is unauthorized device access. This can occur when devices not designed to be network-connected are jerry-rigged with WiFi connectors or when patients bring personal wireless devices into hospitals.
A secure messaging solution is one of the best ways to protect healthcare data in transit and at rest. These solutions offer granular policies and user authentication that prevent unauthorized users from accessing sensitive information. They can also integrate with existing healthcare systems and provide a seamless user experience without disrupting workflows.
In addition, healthcare-grade secure messaging solutions can communicate code alerts, patient updates, consultation requests, and more. These tools can even integrate with the provider directory and clinical systems to streamline communication and workflows.