It is no surprise that healthcare organizations have been a target of cyber attacks for a while now. Each year, these attacks are not only increasing in numbers, but they are also becoming more complicated and difficult to predict. Health systems are subject to various types of cyber attack, including ransomware, phishing schemes, and encrypted malware. All these types of cyber threats give hackers a wide variety of techniques which result in data breaches and compromising patients’ health records.
Healthcare organizations are extremely vulnerable to cyber attacks, as they have to remain functional all around the year to provide care to the patients. Most healthcare organizations now depend on electronic systems in every aspect of their workflow, whether it is to provide care, to manage critical healthcare data or to prevent any medication errors. As a result, hackers are risking the safety of patients’ lives, not just patient data. The need to protect healthcare organizations from the cyber-attacks has increased now more than ever. We have gathered 7 useful tips that can help hospitals and health systems improve their cyber security initiatives.
- Strong Password Policy: Having a strong password policy is one of the best possible ways to protect important and sensitive data. Whether its access to your organization’s network or access to patient information – a strong password is a critical step in preventing some of the most basic cyber-attacks. IT security experts usually recommend a password that is 8 to 12 characters long, having a combination of capital and lower-case letters, special characters, and symbols. One overlooked trick, if you’re allowed to do it, is to add spaces to your password.
- Use a Strong Firewall: Strong network connections are also one of the most essential tools for preventing cyber-attacks. Be wary, however, as they can also act as a gateway for dangerous malware. To protect your network connections from being exposed to cyber-attacks you must develop an impenetrable firewall. A strong firewall effectively protects your networks by monitoring and controlling the incoming and outgoing data stream.
- Antivirus Protection: As encrypted malware are also one of the most common (and preventable) cyber-attacks, the best solution to protect your systems from them is to install the latest version of antivirus and anti-malware software. While it should never be considered as your organization’s only malware prevention strategy, anti-virus is crucial because it is the last line of defense against cyber-attacks.
- Regular Updates of Programs: Outdated programs and software can also make your systems vulnerable to cyber threats. Most IT security experts suggest maintaining and updating your organization’s programs and software on regular basis. This strategy can help to identify any weaknesses in your security software.
- Securing Portable Devices: It’s very common to use laptops, tablets, and smartphones instead of desktops due to their portability. While these more mobile solutions offer easy access to users, they also give an opportunity to hackers to steal important data. It’s incredibly important to take certain measures to protect your portable devices. The most effective strategy is to encrypt your laptops and smartphones. As always, your technology should also be password protected.
- Encourage IT Staff to Monitor: It is impossible to know exactly when a cyber-attack will occur, however, your IT security team can (and should) monitor your employees’ daily activities, with regards to hospital data and network access. It is critical to monitor and analyze all activities happening within sensitive areas of your network, so your security team can identify any unusual activity or possible data breaches.
- Train your Staff: One of the most damaging weaknesses of a cyber security strategy is an untrained or uninformed staff. Your organization’s employees, if not trained properly, may not even be aware that they are creating significant vulnerabilities in your security strategy. Almost never on purpose, your staff can unwittingly become victims of a phishing attack. Your IT strategy is only as strong as its weakest link, so it’s important to ensure that your staff understands the correct security protocol.
Virtelligence Consulting Services:
Our cyber security experts are focused solely on protecting your organization’s information technology. Virtelligence consultants provide fundamental cyber security expertise to support all information security initiatives, not just HIPAA compliance. Now more than ever, cyber security threats like ransomware are creating incredible challenges for your IT department. Our consultants deliver unmatched cyber security and privacy solutions efficiently and within your budget.
Our Cybersecurity and Privacy Services Include:
- Cybersecurity Governance
- Risk Assessment
- Employee Training and Education
- Advanced Analytics and Reporting
- Comprehensive System Backups
- Ensuring HIPAA Compliance
If you’re in need of cybersecurity and privacy consulting, you can get in touch with one of our practice experts by contacting us here.
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