The digitalisation of the healthcare sector has had a transformative effect on the way in which healthcare institutions connect with patients and store data. Not only has this digital capacity strengthened the industry but it’s become invariably intertwined in the way healthcare practitioners create better outcomes for their patients. These rapid developments have led to an increased vulnerability as cybercriminals hone in on the opportunity to profit from the healthcare sector’s increased reliance on secure connectivity. Nowadays healthcare institutions may have hundreds of employees using an immeasurable number of electronic devices all of which are at risk of security breaches, data theft and ransomware attack.
A patient’s safety and well-being is inevitably tied to a healthcare organization’s ability to safeguard patient’s private and personal data. What remains unique to the healthcare industry and what makes it so susceptible to breaches is the sensitivity of the data it stores. Medical records contain private and essential information that assists in treating patients. The difference between a financial data hack and a healthcare one is that the breach of privacy that occurs when the system is compromised. While individual credit card and bank details can be protected and changed if needed, a person’s medical history once stolen cannot be changed or retrieved once taken.
When a medical institution is targeted by a cyberattack critical care treatment needed by patients can be delayed and non-emergency cases could be compromised due to the lack of patient data available to health practitioners. Electronic records help to keep patients alive by monitoring vital signs, pumping blood and administrating medication. Without access to these records, patient lives are in jeopardy. This in part explains why the healthcare industry has become such an attractive target for cybercriminals. The ‘do or die’ mentality creates a sense of urgency that may force a quicker reaction than other industries. In the past, healthcare organisations have been known to pay cybercriminals in a desperate attempt to access patient information. This is extremely risky, as there is absolutely no guarantee that the hackers will restore the network once paid. The financial implications following a security breach are equally devastating for healthcare providers, as organisations must spend significant amounts restoring, repairing and recovering from a hack. The push to make cybersecurity more of a priority is an effort to reduce the consequences a breach can have on a healthcare organisation.
Cyberattacks have become an epidemic in the healthcare sector with 45% of health organisations in the Asia Pacific reporting a security breach in the last year. As a high-risk industry, healthcare experts have stressed the importance of investment in cybersecurity fundamentals such as: threat intelligence services, firewalls and advanced business continuity/disaster recovery plans (BCDR). The financial toll security breaches have are exponentially higher for health organisations accentuating the need for a viable security solution .The advice from security experts is for healthcare organisations to make cybersecurity a priority going forward.
Cultivating a culture of security within our healthcare institutions is essential in the war against cybercriminals. This includes increased awareness and education on cybersecurity and how to create a secure environment for patients. In conjunction with prevention measures it’s also essential that all healthcare organisations prepare for a breach. This may include things like additional training for doctors and nurses on what to do in times of a security breach and executing a disaster plan that will assist in combating the attack.
While on the ground education and planning remains fundamental to minimising the threat cyberattacks pose, the most important measure is implementing a digital security strategy. A robust firewall is essential in controlling what information flows in and out of your network and provides a literal ‘wall’ of protection. Teksupport are on the front-line on the war against cybercriminals, protecting businesses with tailored security solutions. Teksupport prides itself on providing threat intelligence security services that will protect your business from digital threats such as malware and data theft and have your business up back and running in the case of a breach.
Teksupport is a trusted IT solutions provider to the healthcare sector. Offering WI-FI and business continuity/disaster recovery plans to safeguard patient data, implement regular back-ups and recover your network in seconds if compromised. Recognised for developing improved connectivity for the healthcare industry and beyond, Teksupport solutions continue to make a difference in the war against cybercriminals.
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