What is Healthcare Cyber Risk and How Can Your Organization be Prepared? 

healthcare cyber risk

Healthcare organizations are particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks, an industry-wide issue that shows no signs of slowing down. In 2021, it was the tenth year in a row that the healthcare industry had the highest costs related to data breaches (compared to all other industries).  Therefore, the impacts on health organizations, patients, and partners were devastating. 

According to statistics from the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Journal, 2021 reported more data breaches than any other year since records first started being collected. Between 2009 and 2021, an estimated 4,419 healthcare data breaches of 500 or more records were reported to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights. This resulted in the exposure, disclosure, and theft of 314,063,186 healthcare records.  

There are multiple reasons why the healthcare industry is so severely targeted. For starters, the amount of private information that can be acquired is substantial, including full names, addresses, birthdates, payment information, insurance information, and much more. For another, the healthcare industry relies on multiple online tools and devices to conduct business, which increases its cyber risk. Let’s discover more about how you can protect your healthcare organization with the right cybersecurity with our IT support services in Dallas.  

What is Healthcare Cyber Risk? 

Simply put, healthcare cyber risk is the overall vulnerability of your healthcare organization to cyberattacks. Anything from your networks to your office computers, to the medical devices you use every day is at risk of cyber threats. The sheer number and the variety of devices involved in your healthcare organization’s operations are typically more complex and varied than any other industry in the world.  This includes legacy software that is used to treat patients and/or record data, to medical device management systems, which is why this cyber risk is so high.  

Additionally, healthcare organizations don’t have the resources, time, or budget to employ a full-time cybersecurity team. Therefore, with so many ways for cybercriminals to gain access, the rate of data breaches naturally skyrockets. 

How can you protect your healthcare organization from cyberattacks? 

The good news is that regardless of whether you are a small and privately-owned medical practice or a hospital, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of cyberattacks. 

Make a List of your Medical Devices and Software  

Checking your inventory includes the medical equipment and desktop computers that you use on a regular basis.  However, it also includes mobile devices, apps, and other tools that you and your staff access when on the go. This will give you a solid cybersecurity risk assessment of how your organization is vulnerable, as any device that connects to the internet can be targeted. 

Implement Security Procedures  

Having an organization-wide security policy for all devices under your company’s umbrella will help your organization create a framework of guidelines to address cybersecurity risks. There are already suggestions and benchmarks to refer to by leading industry organizations such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology(NIST),  The National Cyber Security Centre, or the Center for Internet Security(CIS), which can be a good starting point for IT professionals.  

Update All Operating Systems and Software  

One of the most dangerous and frequently used access points for cybercriminals is unpatched vulnerabilities in outdated software.  

Software, apps, and other devices are regularly updated and revised by their manufacturers simply to address recent data breaches.  On the other hand, this is a way for cybercriminals to find a weak point in the system. A healthcare organization uses many devices and programs daily. Therefore, there’s a good chance that some of these systems have not installed the most recent updates. Start by performing a clean sweep of all of the internet-connected devices you use to ensure that you are operating with their latest versions. Furthermore, it is suggested to do this regularly to remain at the forefront of new cyberattacks. 

Create a Plan for a Potential Cyberattack on Medical Devices 

Cyberattacks can still occur even with the most updated versions of your devices and extra protections in place. This is evident by the staggering healthcare industry statistics from the past decade. As such, it’s important to have a corresponding plan to identify and address these cyber threats after they occur and as soon as possible. 

A security system that identifies suspicious activity and knows how to alert the right people is a great tool that can automatically scan your devices continually to pinpoint any issues. With the use of reporting tools like the security information and event management (SIEM) system, cyber threats are monitored in order to identify any vulnerabilities. Additionally, this can stop them before any data breaches become insurmountable. 

You’ll also want to train your organization’s team on potential red flags that could indicate a cybersecurity attack. Phishing is a successful way for cybercriminals to gain access to your data. Unfortunately, it only takes one uninformed employee to accidentally grant access to your entire organization’s system. 

Partner with our Cybersecurity Specialists for Medical Devices  

The easiest and most cost-effective way to mitigate healthcare cyber risk is to partner with Emeritus who specializes in security and device management.  Moreover, our experts specialize in the healthcare industry where the tools utilized on a daily basis are inherently more complex. 

Emeritus has helped countless organizations and companies of all sizes with their cybersecurity needs.  We are experts and have a team that are knowledgeable in IT and cybersecurity in relation to the healthcare industry, which sets us apart. We have managed over 10,000 devices across the board and have a team of more than 50 skilled experts who constantly monitor the latest cybersecurity risks. Our IT team in Richardson, Texas is always prepared to address problems before they start.  

Ready to Begin Your Cybersecurity Risk Assessment?  

We’ll work with you to take stock of your organization’s current cybersecurity risk and create a customized plan to protect your healthcare organization from the inside out. With a trusted and experienced partner based in Texas you can avoid a costly data breach that can put your organization, patients, and everyday operations at risk. Additionally, we offer our managed IT support services in nearby cities including Plano and Dallas.  

Start today with a free consultation. Let’s work together to establish the best cybersecurity for your healthcare organization.

 

Reach out to us today.  

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