In 2017, there were more than 340 data breaches reported according to the breach tool of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Increasingly, the healthcare industry becomes an easy target for hackers due to the significant value of patient data.
There are different causes of data breaches in healthcare that could be a critical factor in data breaches, some of them are:
- Human error
- Physical theft
Every health organizations must pay attention to those causes to further gain knowledge on how they will combat cyber attacks. Cyber criminals’ interest in healthcare data has been increasing due to sensitive and personal information from patients they could use to conduct crime. They could use a patient’s information, for example, to make a fake ID to use in buying drugs to be resold, this type of cyber crime is called identity theft.
So, how do you secure your patient’s data despite the internet threats posed by cyber criminals today?
Effective Ways to Secure Healthcare Data
Medical data is not perishable so it’s more valuable than financial data. However, cyber criminals highly target biotech and pharmaceutical intellectual data nowadays. So if you’re in the healthcare industry, particularly keeping these kinds of data, make sure to double your security controls.
Here are some proven ways to secure your healthcare data:
- Identify sensitive information that needs utmost security. In order to secure your patient’s data, it’s important to consider automated data discovery of sensitive information. Usually, this is offered by security providers. It scans the network and identifies database servers and services that contain any sensitive information.
- Monitor and assess database to find out vulnerabilities and misconfiguration. For healthcare organizations, it’s crucial to scan databases for potential weaknesses and risks to healthcare data. Once they are pinpointed, organizations can easily identify remediation strategies to prevent cybersecurity threats.
- Check data usage regularly to monitor data access activities. Monitoring and auditing data usage activities is important such as applications and privileged user’s activity. In addition, it helps detect and alert your IT team when there’s an unauthorized access in your database. With regular monitoring, you can also determine what appropriate actions to take to block suspicious access.
- Identify users that may pose threat to the database system. Some data security services provide machine learning in order to automatically reveal unusual data activities. It instantly profiles data and user activity to set up a baseline. Activities that will deviate from the baseline is automatically identified as threat to prevent a cybersecurity attack.
- HIPAA compliance, or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 Compliance guarantees patients’ that their sensitive and personal information is well secured. HIPAA established industry-wide standards in which all electronic health care transactions must be kept confidential, it also limits the ability of healthcare providers to use or disclose patients’ data information for any type of use unrelated in providing healthcare. Complying with HIPAA should be a priority for every health organization looking to avoid facing penalties once a data breach occurs. Coordinating with companies that offer excellent HIPAA compliance courses will result in a solid knowledge about how HIPAA works and how to best avoid liability scenarios.
- Keep sensitive data unexposed and provide layered security to stop hackers from accessing any healthcare information. Masking all your sensitive data can help reduce data breach risks. It’s also a standard measure in complying with data privacy regulations. Integrate bespoke data transformers in your system and maintain data usage without exposing any sensitive details like electronic medical records and electronic health records.
The costs and risks in healthcare data cybersecurity breaches are significantly high. Healthcare organizations must also invest in protecting healthcare data to fight and prevent cyber attacks. With how fast the internet changes even in every second, you must be vigilant to every kinds of threats. Always make sure that your database is safe and secure from hackers and fraudsters that may cost you millions of dollars.