3 Steps to Bolster Healthcare Cybersecurity

By | March 26, 2020

3 Steps to Bolster Healthcare Cybersecurity

Healthcare cybersecurity is an issue that has become a major topic of discussion for anyone working in healthcare. Healthcare breaches are rapidly increasing, with millions of patients affected by healthcare breaches so far this year. As healthcare cybersecurity is top-of-mind, the following are steps that you can take to increase your healthcare cybersecurity. 

  • Conduct a Security Risk Assessment

An essential component to establishing healthcare cybersecurity is to assess your current cybersecurity practices to identify where weaknesses exist. A security risk assessment (SRA) enables this as it is a self-audit that healthcare organizations can use to answer a series of questions to identify their gaps in security. 

Using an SRA as your framework for cybersecurity allows you to address all of the areas of concern that you may not have been aware of without conducting the SRA. Without an SRA it is difficult to implement sufficient safeguards.

  • Ensure Your Email Server is Updated

Email security is an important aspect of implementing a robust healthcare cybersecurity plan. The most common way hackers enter an organization’s internal network is through email. Having an outdated email server puts protected health information (PHI) at risk as hackers can easily leverage vulnerabilities in outdated systems to infiltrate an organization’s network. 

Hackers utilize phishing emails to gain access to email accounts. A phishing email is an email that poses as a trusted entity, prompting recipients to click on a malicious link. Clicking the link allows hackers access to the recipient’s email account, including address books, emails, and email attachments. Since it is permitted to send unencrypted PHI data internally within an organization, hackers have access to a wealth of patient information when they are able to access a healthcare employee’s email account.

  • Train Employees on Healthcare Cybersecurity

Healthcare cybersecurity is in large part a person-driven issue. Most healthcare breaches are the result of human error; whether it is a lost or stolen device, opening a phishing email, or misconfigured access, people are usually why cybersecurity fails. This is why employee cybersecurity training is integral to your organization’s overall security.

Employees must be trained on your organization’s policies and procedures, as well as HIPAA requirements. Additionally, employees should be able to recognize a phishing email and should know who to report suspicious emails to. 

Navigating healthcare cybersecurity can be difficult to do without a dedicated IT staff. When developing your organization’s cybersecurity plan, it is best to consult an expert to ensure that your security measures are adequate to safeguard PHI.