When it comes to the healthcare industry, cybersecurity is one of the most important issues of the day. Healthcare organizations across the world averaged 1,463 cyberattacks per week in 2022 (an increase of 74% compared to 2021), according to a study by Check Point Research, and this number continues to grow.
In fact, U.S. healthcare organizations continue to be the most compromised industry when it comes to data breaches. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) 2022 Data Breach Report, there was a near-record high in the past year alone. When a cyberattack and security breach occurs, it can be devastating to patients, employees, and everyone affiliated with your healthcare organization.
The healthcare industry is an attractive target for bad actors, because the information that they can access, and steal is so valuable. Hospitals, medical centers, and other healthcare facilities have vast amounts of patient data, which includes names and addresses, payment information, social security numbers, and a wide array of additional and sensitive information.
Updated Cybersecurity in Medical Devices is Key for a Safe Healthcare Facility
Healthcare facilities have a wide range of devices connected to the internet – from diagnosis tools to office computers. Therefore, hackers have multiple ways to enter a system through a single weak point.
As such, the cybersecurity of your healthcare facility is just as important as any other security or safety initiative in your organization. Furthermore, it deserves resources and attention on a regular basis to keep the risks at bay.
Luckily, there are steps your administrators and IT personnel can take now and on a continual basis to enhance your cybersecurity for medical devices and hospital networks.
Here are the top ways your organization can enhance cybersecurity from the inside out.
Conduct a Comprehensive Medical Device Cybersecurity Risk Assessment
The way that hackers access systems is rapidly expanding. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure that the medical devices that your healthcare facility utilizes on a daily basis are protected when it comes to cybersecurity. Outdated medical devices are particularly vulnerable. That is why taking stock of all devices within your organization connected to the online world is important – from patient monitoring tools to cell phones.
Provide Employee Training on Cybersecurity Best Practices
Some of the largest and most damaging data breaches in history occurred because an attacker found a single weak link in a massive company. It only takes one employee to be the victim of a phishing scam or to have a weak password for your entire system to be compromised. Therefore, be proactive and conduct cybersecurity training for everyone on your team. By increasing your personnel’s knowledge of common threats and best practices for cybersecurity, you’ll broaden your healthcare facility’s protection across the board.
Review User Access to Maintain Cybersecurity in Medical Devices
In addition to personnel training, ensuring your system is as protected and controlled is helpful by taking stock of who has access to which medical devices. Generally speaking, not everyone on your healthcare team will need access to all of the tools that your facility uses on a regular basis. Therefore, keep your network as small as possible by allowing your employees access to only the tools or devices they require for their jobs and not every medical device or software in your organization.
Ensure All Software is Updated
Software manufacturers provide multiple and routine updates to their products for a reason. Often, these updates stem from a vulnerability in previous software versions that allowed hackers access to the software, and a network or system at large. As such, it’s imperative to update all of the software your healthcare facility uses constantly. An expert cybersecurity partner like Emeritus can help keep track of these needed updates for you, so you can curtail any cyberattacks on older software versions before they occur.
Focus on Your Mobile Devices
Employees who use laptops, smartphones, tablets, and other portable medical devices on the go are all especially vulnerable to cyberattacks. Additionally, these cyberattacks continue to grow as mobile devices are used more often at the office and in the field. These mobile devices require special and intricate cybersecurity measures in order to be protected, and an experienced partner like Emeritus can help tackle these intricate details.
Have a Response and Recovery Plan
A fast and effective response makes all the difference if the worst-case scenario occurs. An extensive data breach can cause damage to your patients, your reputation, and your healthcare facility’s ability to function. This can also put lives at risk. As such, it’s important to constantly monitor for any detected threats and address them as soon as they occur. Most important, in the case of an cyberattack, ensure that you have an elaborate data recoverymechanism in place to make sure that your data is intact and isn’t destroyed, causing operations to come to a standstill.
Have an Expert Medical Device Cybersecurity Partner at Your Side
In our modern era, even the largest hospitals and medical facilities don’t have the inherent IT resources required to track and constantly monitor all potential threats. It’s virtually impossible to know all the risks that may be connected to all of the devices that your organization uses. Therefore, your smartest move when it comes to enhancing your healthcare cybersecurity is to find a trusted and experienced partner that can be on top of maintaining cybersecurity in medical devices
A healthcare cybersecurity expert like Emeritus can help you create your initial assessment and determine your risk factors. Additionally, our experts can then put the processes and technology in place to protect your organization from the inside out. From continual threat detection to regular updates to your medical devices, Emeritus can perform all of the heavy lifting regarding comprehensive cybersecurity. That way, you can continue focusing on what matters the most – your patients.
The healthcare industry is the most targeted sector in the world when it comes to cyberattacks. That is why it’s important that your organization is protected and is instrumental in your everyday operations.
Let’s get started on your complimentary cyber risk assessment and identify the steps you can take right now and, in the future, to ensure your healthcare organization is well protected.
Reach out to our team at Emeritus today.