E-PROCUREMENT
toggle menu
by Derive Technologies,

5 Reasons Healthcare Cybersecurity Is Crucial

Healthcare cybersecurity has never been more important. With cybersecurity attacks rising in frequency and severity in recent years, catalyzed by the Covid-19 pandemic and the ongoing war in Ukraine, it’s never been more crucial for the most sensitive and susceptible businesses and organizations to protect themselves.

And there is no organization more sensitive – or routinely targeted – than healthcare organizations.

Healthcare staff work long hours during busy days and don’t have the time or resources to understand the risks they face by not being proactive about healthcare cybersecurity. They’re far too busy saving lives to worry about, much less be aware of, how current their network’s firewall is, for example.

The reality, however, is that patient data is extremely valuable on the dark web, and the outdated hardware and software that many healthcare organizations have fostered long-term dependencies leave them vulnerable to exploitation. As more healthcare leaders realize this, the more they’re investing their time and allocating their budget to shore up their defenses.

Read more to learn 5 ways that healthcare cybersecurity is becoming more important every single day.

 

1) Healthcare Organizations Don’t Have Time or Resources to Introduce New Hardware or Software

Healthcare workers are among the busiest and most in-demand anywhere in the world, and their all-consuming care is more pressing than staying up-to-date with healthcare cybersecurity best practices. More than anything, they need reliable, intuitive tech that allows them to treat patients as efficiently as possible.

Fortunately bolstering your cyber defenses does not have to be a disruptive, all-hands-on-deck overhaul. Healthcare leaders should start by assessing the impact of any cybersecurity measures they want to implement and align those measures with existing software and hardware as much as reasonably possible. There is a bevy of solutions that work with healthcare organizations’ most common platforms, like Office 365, so that you can better secure your information without costing your staff more precious time.

Single Sign-On (SSO) solutions, for example, can authorize users to access multiple applications with one set of credentials, allowing you to increase your cybersecurity without creating more work for your team.

Even before the covid-19 pandemic, healthcare staff needed the ability to access data remotely. Now the reliance on remote access is greater than ever, and that continual, off-site access presents new opportunities for bad actors to exploit. Connecting to unsecured networks from a home office or public space can put your entire organization at risk.

Solutions like increased endpoint security and multi-factor authentication can go a long way in proactively protecting you from these inevitable vulnerabilities without slowing down your staff or limiting their access.

2) Confidential Patient Data Is Highly Valuable

In the seedy underbelly of the internet, your patient data can fetch a pretty penny. Hackers know this, and that’s why healthcare organizations are so frequently targeted.

Ransomware attacks, the most common form of a cybersecurity attack, either threaten to publish an organization’s data or perpetually blocks access to it unless a ransom is paid.

Hackers will often hold this data hostage 2-3 consecutive times before relinquishing control: once as a traditional ransom, again to prevent information from being released to the public, and then one last time so that victims can find out how they were hacked in the first place. These attacks can be caused by unprotected email, weak security, outdated antivirus software, uneducated staff members, lack of security policies, or any number of other common reasons.

Hospitals and healthcare facilities store an incredible amount of confidential data that they are legally required to protect with baseline cybersecurity measures. If those securities aren’t in place, healthcare organizations could face tremendous financial losses for not cooperating with the HIPAA Privacy Law that protects patients from hospital negligence . . . in addition to the financial loss incurred from having to buy the stolen data back from their attackers.

 

3) Medical Devices Are Easy Targets . . . And Often Outdated

Healthcare technology has advanced in inspiring ways in recent years, but for all of their dramatic leaps forward in actual healthcare provision, they often create side doors or back doors for hackers to access your network.

These devices, like a heart rate monitor, for example, aren’t designed with online security in mind, and even though they don’t contain patient data themselves, they can be used as leverage to launch a larger attack on a server that does contain sensitive data.

Every healthcare organization has budgetary constraints, and medical devices are often going to be the priority. That means other medical technologies, like computers and software platforms, become increasingly outdated and fail to keep up with contemporary attacks.

Technologies eventually reach their end-of-lifecycle where their vendors are no longer routinely providing updates, which often contain bug fixes to keep systems secure. It's possible to minimize the risk of cyberattacks by adding extra layers of security protection and slightly extending their lifecycle, but eventually, you’ll need to migrate to a more modern platform to ensure your healthcare organization is safe.

At the end of the day, it’s the healthcare organization that is ultimately responsible for protecting patient data at all times. That means staying current with today’s threats . . . as well as today’s defenses.

 4) Healthcare Data Needs to Be Accessible and Shareable

Extremely confidential patient data needs to be accessible both remotely and on-site from multiple devices at any given time. What allows healthcare staff to access critical data as quickly as possible also creates opportunities for security vulnerabilities that hackers are happy to take advantage of.

Endpoints are a particular weak spot in this department. In other words, even if the platforms or applications being accessed are secured, often the devices – phones, personal computers, etc. – being used to access are not.

Modern healthcare organizations handle large quantities of patient data and an extensive network of connected medical devices. Larger organizations typically manage thousands of medical devices connected to their networks, each one posing a potential security risk and opportunity for bad actors.

Any solution that can save both time and money by automatically regulating user permissions without putting sensitive patient data at risk is a must-have for healthcare cybersecurity. MFA solutions prevent attacks from compromised credentials or unauthorized users, ensuring only the right people can access private information.

 

5) Healthcare Staff Aren’t Educated on Healthcare Cybersecurity Risks

They’re medical professionals, after all, not IT professionals, and healthcare cybersecurity solutions can be extremely complex. The reality is they are far too busy to educate themselves on the latest threats and best practices, meaning the responsibility falls on IT specialists to ensure that healthcare staff is protected from both attackers and their own actions.

Healthcare professionals need to be able to manage their own devices to an extent – freeing up IT specialists to deal with broader IT and security issues within the network. Some MFA solutions offer a self-service portal, which allows users to reset security PINs and more by themselves, helping to lighten the workload on the support desk

Hospital staff needs secure devices and networks that are quick and easy to access, plain and simple. Additional measures like MFA and SSO are becoming more common thanks to their ability to fortify online defenses without impeding the end users.

Conclusion

While all healthcare organizations are at risk of cyberattack, smaller enterprises with smaller security budgets are often targeted for their reputation of having less sophisticated and up-to-date healthcare cybersecurity measures in place.

No matter your size, effective cybersecurity is an absolute must for healthcare organizations as they’re all responsible for sensitive patient data. Healthcare leaders are becoming more aware of the need to increase spending on cybersecurity – and there are plenty of solutions out there that are scalable to different business sizes.

Reach out to Derive Technologies to learn more about how we can protect you from the threats of today and tomorrow BOOK A FREE CONSULTATION 

AUTHOR

Derive Technologies

contact

back

Book a Free Consultation

Please complete the form below to get in touch with a Derive solutions specialist

Please fill out this field.
Please fill out this field.
Please fill out this field.
Please fill out this field.
Please fill out this field.
Please fill out this field.
Please fill out this field.
Please fill out this field.
Please validate captcha.