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What is healthcare cybersecurity? Healthcare cybersecurity challenges

June 24, 2022

6 minutes read

Today we all use a lot of online services. All systems, from financial and medical institutions to the grids that power entire cities, rely on digital technologies. Cyber ​​protection allows them to function correctly and is a wall that keeps cyberattacks at bay.

Your health records, banking details, private messages, or online activities will become public without proper IT security. Cyberattacks can wreak havoc on hospitals, banks, transportation, communications systems, and public utilities. Here are some tips to make your healthcare cybersecurity better and more efficient. Use them to protect your doctors and patients.

Why is cybersecurity important in healthcare?

Cybersecurity protects systems, networks, devices, and data from cyberattacks such as code injection, data leaks, and ransomware. Cybersecurity aims to protect computer networks (both local and public) from external threats.

You should be aware of cyberattacks. There are several well-known types of them.

Malware

Malicious software (or malware) is harmful software that hackers intentionally install on your computer. Such programs often infiltrate computers under the guise of harmless email attachments or by pressing a fake button on websites, allowing them to bypass network security systems. The malware can transfer your data (if it is spyware), install other malware on your device, or crash your operating system.

Ransomware

Malicious software that can damage all of your files is called ransomware. You won’t even know you’re downloading ransomware. It often ends up in your inbox as a harmless file from a seemingly innocuous sender. Once you open the program, your files will become inaccessible, and you will have to pay a ransom to take back control of them.

Phishing

Phishing is a type of fraud in which a criminal pretends to be a reliable counterparty. A phishing attack can look like an email, a social media post, or even a phone call that asks you to verify your details, provide a credit card number, or make a money transfer. This data can be used to gain unauthorized access to your accounts.

Denial of service (DDoS) attack

During a DDoS attack, the amount of traffic exceeds the capacity of your network, and you cannot use it for its intended purpose. Attackers usually target the websites of businesses and organizations. The ultimate goal of such attacks is not always your money (at least for scammers); it may be a desire to deprive you of customers and visitors.

Broker injection

With this type of attack, the attacker relays messages between you and the other side, pretending to be you or someone you communicate with.

Why is cybersecurity critical in healthcare? Cybersecurity is crucial for the company. Here are its most important benefits:

  • Direct protection against network attacks
  • Increasing the confidence of customers and other stakeholders
  • Enhanced business continuity and availability guarantee
  • Prevention of unauthorized access to data and information
  • Compliance with legal requirements for the protection of personal data

Related: Key Benefits to Develop in HIPAA cloud infrastructure

How to prevent cyberattacks in healthcare?

Implementing healthcare cybersecurity measures will help detect any suspicious activity and prevent it. There are as many security solutions as attack types, so you may need several cybersecurity tools to shelter you, your family, and your business.

Cybercriminals attack computers, private and public networks, and data storage. Computer security is a set of technical and organizational measures designed to protect computing devices from unauthorized external interference.

Cybercriminals are interested in your IT equipment, money, and data. After a hacker gains access to your corporate network, then he can use anything he finds in it to harm the company, for example:

  • Client lists
  • Patients’ data
  • Bank details of your company
  • Your pricing policy
  • Service packages
  • Expansion plans
  • Workflows

A cyberattack can significantly impact your business. More than 50% of small businesses that are victims of an attack stop working within six months of an incident. This is, of course, the most devastating result of an attack, but it can have other consequences, such as:

  • Financial losses from the theft of banking information
  • Economic losses from the shutdown of the company
  • High costs to restore your business
  • Reputational damage because compromised customers’ information  

How to improve cybersecurity in healthcare

What needs to be done to minimize cybersecurity risks in healthcare? Healthcare cybersecurity cannot be underestimated. The cybersecurity measures and recommendations presented below are based on our experience. A few easy-to-follow cybersecurity steps will help protect your company’s data and keep your customers’ data private.

Step 1: Train your staff

Your business can become vulnerable to attacks because of employees. Research shows that half of the data breaches are caused by employees who intentionally or unintentionally give cybercriminals access to your networks.

There are many attack scenarios involving employees. For example, an employee lost their work tablet, leaked credentials, or opened a scam email that “launched” a virus onto the network.

To protect yourself from insider threats, train your employees on cybersecurity in healthcare. Teach them how they should act if they receive a suspicious email.

Step 2: Evaluate the risks

Assess potential risks that could compromise the security of your company’s networks, systems, and information. Identifying and analyzing possible threats will help you develop a plan to address security gaps.

As part of your risk assessment activities, examine where and how your data is stored and who has access to it. Determine the people who might want to access the data and how they might try to do so. Determine the risk levels of possible events and how security breaches could potentially affect the company’s operation.

After you complete your analysis and identify threats, use the information you gain to develop or improve your healthcare cybersecurity strategy. Review and revise your security policy at regular intervals and after any significant changes have been made to the storage and use of information. This will help you ensure that your data is more secure.

Step 3: Use software for protection

It would help if you had reliable business software to protect all your devices from spyware, ransomware, phishing, and viruses. Make sure that you use the software that provides protection and provides technology that, if necessary, cleans computers and returns them to the state that preceded the infection.

Step 4: Update your software

Use the software that is up-to-date. Each program should be regularly updated to strengthen the protection or add patches that close loopholes in the coding through which hackers can penetrate the network.

Step 5: Back up your files regularly

Does your company back up files? In a cyberattack, data can be compromised or deleted. If this happens, will your business work? Given the amount of data that can be stored on laptops and mobile phones, most companies won’t be able to function.

Use a backup program that automatically copies your files to storage to prevent this. In the event of an attack, you can restore all your files from backups. Please choose a program that lets you create scheduled or automatic backups, so you don’t have to remember to do it all the time. Also, store backups on offline storage to prevent attackers from encrypting them or making them inaccessible if your system is attacked by ransomware.

Step 6: Use encryption systems

Using a sound encryption system to ensure healthcare cybersecurity and complete confidentiality of important information is best.

Thanks to this, we will ensure the complete safety of files and data. You can access all this information only if you have the appropriate password and are authorized. Only authorized persons will have it at hand, and thus the information will be protected from any external access attack.

Step 7: Contact a trusted developer company

Solutions provided by trusted developers will help secure data as efficiently as possible. Sometimes they can be pretty expensive, but this guarantees that your business will be protected.

Protecting your data from cybercriminals

Before deciding on a cybersecurity plan in healthcare industry, it is essential to understand the organization. Specialists know how to prevent cyberattacks in healthcare, and their duties are:

  • Development of plans for the protection of all types of assets.
  • Training personnel in the basic principles of safe work in local and global networks.
  • Conducting audits and regular reporting for subsequent analysis of the likely risks of hacking systems.
  • Checking networks for the possibility of introducing all types of malicious software, testing, and updating protective equipment.

It is crucial to take cyber defense seriously in the health sector, as it involves sensitive information related to human health. Contact us, if you want to find out how you can protect your data and keep your patients as safe as possible. We are very experienced in developing medical software and are ready to use our expertise to benefit your organization.

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