Advances in IT have transformed paper medical records into digital files that can easily be accessed and stored. Sadly, this development has also resulted in sensitive healthcare data, or personal health information (PHI), becoming a bigger target for hackers. Because of this, healthcare providers must remain vigilant against all forms of cyberattacks.
From financial information to medical information
In the past few years, cybercriminals have focused on stealing financial data, including credit card numbers, online banking credentials, and other personal information. But things are taking a turn, with financial institutions fortifying their database security and raising client awareness on the growing problems.
Stronger data protection measures in the financial industry have forced criminals to turn their attention to medical data, which is typically much less secure. Patient data includes date of birth, medical and physical records, and social security number — information that can’t be easily reset, and is significantly more valuable than credit card data.
Securing healthcare data
Healthcare data has become more attractive to criminals, and it’s crucial that medical institutions take necessary precautions to secure their patients’ information from data thieves. Here are some best practices to secure those pieces of information:
- Encrypt healthcare data – Encryption translates patients’ data into code that only authorized users with a decryption key can decode. Multi-encryption is also an effective way to keep out intruders.
- Protect your network and Wi-Fi – Because hackers use a variety of tools to break into IT systems and obtain medical records, your healthcare organization needs to invest in the best security solutions, including firewalls and antivirus software. Also worth considering is network segregation, which blocks attackers’ attempts to penetrate your networks to steal an organization’s information.
- Educate employees – Staff members need to be trained in various areas of information security. Regularly conduct cybersecurity training sessions that cover policies such as setting strong passwords, implementing spam filters, protecting against phishing scams, and spotting different kinds of data breach methods.
- Secure physical locations – Most healthcare institutions still retain their patients’ records on paper and store them in cabinets. Ensure that all loopholes are covered by installing surveillance cameras and other physical security controls, such as electronic door locks. Enforce strict rules about granting access to high-risk offices containing sensitive data only to authorized personnel.
It is important for healthcare providers to secure sensitive patient data. Learn how your organization can better protect your patients’ information by giving us a call.