Medical practices in the United States and across the globe are increasingly falling victim to cyber attacks. These malicious intrusions often target medical IT systems, aiming to pilfer patient data which can later be sold on the illicit market to the highest bidder. For medical practice proprietors, safeguarding cybersecurity requires adherence to fundamental measures.
#1) Bolstering Employee Awareness of Cyber Threats
Educating employees on the identification of cyber threats and appropriate responses is paramount. Phishing emails, a common entry point for hackers, should be recognized and treated with caution. A simple click on a malicious link within an email can unwittingly provide hackers access to your network.
#2) Prioritizing Robust Passwords
Utilizing resilient passwords for user login credentials is non-negotiable. A Verizon Data Breach Investigations report revealed that about 63% of data breaches involved compromised or weak passwords. Formulating robust passwords encompassing upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters is advised. Changing these passwords periodically further fortifies security.
#3) Securing Medical Devices
While securing computers and networks is essential, safeguarding medical devices is equally imperative. A Ponemon Institute study highlighted that 67% of medical device manufacturers anticipate potential device attacks in the next year. Medical devices often possess lax security, rendering them susceptible to hacking.
#4) Encrypting Sensitive Data
Encryption doesn’t thwart hackers from penetrating your system, but it does thwart their ability to comprehend pilfered data. Particularly pertinent is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which mandates doctors and covered entities to encrypt electronic protected health information (e-PHI) when such measures prove instrumental in deterring breaches.
#5) Maintaining Regular Data Backups
Regularly generating data backups is imperative, alongside storing these duplicates outside your business’s existing IT infrastructure. Though the prospect of mishaps may be remote, adhering to the adage “hope for the best but prepare for the worst” underscores the wisdom of this practice. Should your network face severe disruption, robust backups ensure the preservation of crucial information.
In closing, the escalating frequency of cyber attacks on medical practices underscores the pressing need for rigorous cybersecurity measures. By cultivating employee vigilance, fortifying password integrity, safeguarding medical devices, encrypting sensitive data, and instituting regular data backups, medical practice owners can proactively thwart potential breaches.