Healthcare Cybersecurity – Where are You Vulnerable?
- February 23, 2018
Experts warn that when it comes to cyber breaches, it is not a question of if, but when we will be hacked. Cybersecurity threats are real. Most practices don’t understand the complexities of the HIPAA Privacy/Security Rule. The punishment for failing to protect patient privacy is much worse for those who are unprepared.
Healthcare cybercrime, a form of online terrorism that has victimized other industries over the past 20 years, threatens the very safety and well-being of our nation’s healthcare system. Daily, we read about security breaches in small, medium, and large healthcare organizations that often affect hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people and their private information.
No hospital, physician, or other healthcare provider is immune to the operational chaos, harrowing events, and potential financial ruin that can result from sudden cybercrime attacks. Safety nets and additional safeguards are available to minimize these risks, but many providers do not know how vulnerable their IT systems and networks are until it is too late.
Providers must take prudent steps to identify and address their IT security weaknesses to protect more thoroughly their invaluable data and financial assets from ransomware and other dangerous exposures now and in the future. Their viability depends on it.
Prevent Cyber Crime in Healthcare
Hackers seek easy targets. The first step in defending yourself is to reduce your vulnerabilities. One of the best ways to do this it to become more preemptive by conducting thorough and scheduled assessments of the organization’s IT environment, optimally at six-month (or at least annually) intervals. The major components to evaluate are an organization’s file, database, and other servers; other hardware including PCs and mobile devices, software, wired and wireless data networks; and internet connections. The assessment should encompass a complete, end-to-end vulnerability and threat identification for all application systems, users, and devices in all locations, both on and off of the organization’s network. Key findings must be documented, and action plans developed, implemented, and tracked to completion, with the process repeated at scheduled intervals.
Vulnerability management is the cyclical practice of identifying, classifying, remediation, and mitigating vulnerabilities. Coker provides cybersecurity education and training and conducts in-depth, one-time, and ongoing IT security assessments for hospitals and other provider organizations.