The need for cybersecurity in the healthcare industry is higher than ever before. This is because, over the past decade, cyberattacks on healthcare organisations have increased dramatically.
Like many industries, healthcare has seen a rise in digitalisation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many medical organisations have switched to digital health monitoring systems to improve workflow efficiency and patient care.
However, as healthcare organisations benefit from adopting cloud and database systems, the increased connectivity and ease of data sharing are also what make the industry vulnerable.
In this article, we will discuss why hackers often target medical institutions and how healthcare leaders can enhance cybersecurity in the healthcare industry.
Why Are Healthcare Organisations A Prime Target For Cybercriminals?
1. Valuable Information
Cybercriminals often target healthcare institutions because they possess a large amount of data that is of high monetary and intelligence value to attackers.
Examples of critical and confidential data include:
- A patient’s financial information (e.g., credit cards, bank account details, etc.)
- A patient’s health history and information
- Confidential medical research data
2. Non-Secure Medical Devices
Hospitals have an extensive network of devices connected to servers that store valuable information.
For example, MRI machines are connected to numerous workstations that allow operators to work with MRI pictures. However, these devices can become potential entry points for cybercriminals to enter a hospital’s servers.
3. Healthcare Workers Are Not Familiar With Online Risks
Medical professionals do not have the knowledge to recognise and mitigate online threats. They also work long hours and have tight deadlines – which means they do not have the time to stay up to date with the latest data protection practices.
4 Ways to Enhance Cybersecurity In The Healthcare Industry
Cybersecurity issues in the healthcare industry can pose a serious threat to our data and privacy. Below are four effective cybersecurity measures that offer protection against the cyber threats plaguing the healthcare industry.
1. Generate Awareness
Educating medical staff about cyber risks and how to mitigate them is one of the most effective ways to improve cybersecurity in the healthcare industry.
Some areas of training that can help medical professionals better anticipate and prepare for cybersecurity threats include:
Spotting Phishing Scams
- Knowing the signs of a phishing attempt, such as typos in email addresses and improper grammar, can help employees better identify and avoid them.
Being Aware Of Suspicious Employee Activity
- An effective way to prevent internal threats is to encourage employees to keep an eye out for other workers. If every staff member is vigilant enough, it will be difficult for the threat actors to find an opening for an attack.
2. Ensure All Software Are Up To Date
Software updates usually incorporate necessary upgrades that protect a system from security attacks and threats. They include critical patches to security holes, which makes them extremely important for digital safety and cybersecurity.
3. Develop a Backup Storage and Restoration Plan
The best way to minimise the damage caused by a cyberattack is to have a data backup storage and restoration plan in place.
Not only does it help protect a medical institution’s data, but it also helps them restore their lost data and resume their operations as quickly as possible.
4. Adhere to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
While not mandatory in Malaysia, the HIPAA can serve as a benchmark for sensitive patient data protection.
It limits what information can be disclosed, how it can be used, and outlines the standards and guidelines that dictate how personal health information is handled.
Protect Your Data with Aegis
In healthcare, the patient’s health is a top priority. However, cyberattacks pose a huge risk to patient safety and privacy.
Hackers can access, steal or alter a patient’s private data, endangering a patient’s health or life.
Aegis is a cybersecurity expert that can protect medical institutions from falling victim to cyberattacks. With over a decade of cloud disaster recovery experience, we offer data backup, restoration and replication services at affordable prices.
Aegis Cloud Disaster Recovery (CDR) is an efficient enterprise-grade disaster recovery solution that ensures rapid IT infrastructure and data recovery. We provide proactive monitoring of your systems and are available round the clock if you seek technical assistance.