6 Ways To Reduce The Risk Of A Healthcare Data Breach

6 Ways To Reduce The Risk Of A Healthcare Data Breach

6 ways to reduce the risk of a healthcare data breach

The healthcare industry deals with a significant amount of sensitive information on a daily basis, making healthcare organizations a prime target for cyberattacks. If stolen by cyber criminals, sensitive health information could be used for identity theft, extortion, and other illegal activities. This sensitive information can include patient names, dates of birth, addresses, and social security numbers.

Incidents of data breaches continue to put highly sensitive patient data at risk. Additionally, six years ago, cyberattacks resulted in at least one data breach in 91% of healthcare companies. And just last year, more than 50% of all healthcare providers exposed proprietary health information (PHI) due to a data breach.

Companies should take a proactive approach to protecting health data. This would mean implementing health care safety practices that are not limited to the list below.

  1. Update or replace outdated infrastructure or hardware

They say that the only thing that remains in this world is change. Technology is no exception. One of the different ways healthcare organizations can reduce the risk of a data breach is to update their IT infrastructure. You need to make sure that the latest security patches are available and installed.

However, the need to upgrade the IT infrastructure can be costly. Installation requires special knowledge from professionals. Hence, health organizations need to make sure they have the budget and the right people on board to carry out the process. You can do this by using Dallas Managed Services Provider (MSP) or the nearest IT company that will take care of any necessary updates.

  1. Secure data

A ransomware cyberattack uses malware to restrict or prevent users from accessing a system. Users would not be able to regain access until they paid a ransom. It tells us one thing – data breaches can also affect data availability and integrity.

For this reason, cybersecurity experts strongly recommend frequent external data backups. It is the practice to protect data by copying it from a primary to a secondary location. Most established IT companies offer this to their customers as part of their service.

Data backups are also an essential part of disaster recovery. This means that they not only protect data from cyber attacks, but also from accidents and natural disasters. Without them, devastating consequences such as disasters, accidents and malicious acts could harm a healthcare company’s data center.

  1. Selection of trusted third-party providers

Many health organizations outsource their processes to third party providers. Health data is only as secure as the protective measures taken by your partners. Therefore, work with a reputable provider, regardless of whether you outsource the transcription or medical billing.

Choosing a trusted third party to reduce the risk of a healthcare data breach also applies when working with a managed IT company.

  1. Encrypt data

Encryption is one of the most effective methods available for protecting health data. It can be useful for both data in transit and data at rest. Data encryption makes it difficult for hackers to decrypt patient data, even if they have gained access.

This is how the law on portability and accountability of health insurances (HIPAA) have ways to ensure that patient information is not disclosed to the public without their consent. This includes security rules such as the encryption and decryption of data, the provision of unique user identification, access to emergency procedures and the use of automatic logout commands.

  1. Restricting access to data and applications

Implementing access controls ensures that certain applications and patient information are only available to those employees who urgently need this information. It strengthens data protection in healthcare and is an essential part of preventing data breaches.

A recommended approach to restricting access or managing user permissions is through user authentication. For example, multi-factor authentication requires users to validate their authorization access using at least two validation methods. You must do these steps before you are granted access to certain data and applications. Passwords or PINs and biometric data such as fingerprints, face recognition and eye scans are common validation methods for access control.

  1. Training of health workers

One of the biggest security threats in healthcare has always been human error or negligence. This has resulted in costly consequences in the past and continues to be disastrous for health organizations.

Because of this, healthcare organizations need to train and retrain their employees to fully understand the implications of a data breach. Training programs also ensure that health workers are aware of the consequences of violating cyber hygiene rules and regulations. Above all, the training provides them with the knowledge they need to exercise appropriate caution and make wise decisions when handling sensitive patient data.

Final thoughts

The above ways to reduce the risk of a data breach in healthcare may not be enough without a security risk assessment. Additionally, the HIPAA security rule requires that an assessment be performed on a regular basis. Health organizations must carry out at least one annual analysis to identify weak points and potential for improvement.

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by Scott Rupp Reduce the risk of a data breach in healthcare

Thank You For Reading!

Reference: electronichealthreporter.com


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