Securing patient data in healthcare facilities – Fior Reports

securing-patient-data-in-healthcare-facilities-–-fior-reports

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How can health organizations establish a “culture” of safety?

When safety is part of the corporate culture, each member of the organization takes personal responsibility for their actions and recognizes that they will be held accountable if they choose not to comply. Security works better when it’s collaborative; Employees should have insight into a company’s processes and the knowledge and skills to make smart decisions.

The following steps are a good place to start when developing a safety culture:

  • Understand your current situation: Are the employees actively involved in the security process and are they up to date with best practices? Do you know how to alert the company to threats or attempted security breaches?
  • Train employees in their cybersecurity roles: Keep your team informed about your security process and how it helps keep the company safe.
  • Department heads need to think about safety: Every department head must commit to compliance with safety standards and be a role model for his team.
  • Provide actionable threat intelligence: Use threat intelligence technology to quickly see if your business has been compromised, alert the company, and identify the source of the problem.
  • Hold employees accountable: If you can trace the origin of a potential hack, you can determine who is responsible for it. That way, you can hold employees or teams accountable, make sure they correct their mistakes, and encourage better safety habits.
  • Celebrate victories: Reward those who support a culture of security.

What dangers do you face if you do not implement robust security measures?

Health networks have always had a target on their back. They need sensitive personal information to treat patients, which makes them a worthwhile target for cyber criminals. Hackers infiltrate vulnerable networks and cause millions in damage, as well as inflicting a blow on a company’s reputation. Indeed, a IBM 2021 report shows that compromised employee credentials caused the most data breaches, averaging $ 4.37 million.

Hackers break through a network with specific targets in order to steal sensitive information for financial or political reasons. One method that hackers use to gain access to a network is through Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs). APTs often fly under the radar for extended periods of time, causing detection to occur at an “advanced” stage in the attack, after an injury has occurred for a few months or possibly years. A proactive approach and the implementation of robust security measures are non-negotiable and ensure a strong line of defense against hackers.

How important is employee training and what should it include?

As cyber attacks became more sophisticated, cybersecurity practices had to evolve to keep up. Proper employee training, along with a solid cybersecurity strategy, is important to keep your health organization safe. Human error can play a large role in organizations that have fallen victim to data breaches (95% according to Fraud Watch International), which further emphasizes the importance of awareness, preparation, training and enforcement.

Effective training for cybersecurity personnel takes place regularly and is constantly evaluated and updated. Employees should be able to recognize and stop attacks before they happen in order to avert damage. Organizations can start by consulting a trusted cybersecurity provider to customize employee training and cybersecurity programs to protect data.

How can patient data and medical devices be protected in a targeted manner?

Health organizations must take strict security measures to protect patient data (proprietary health information) and medical devices. One way to do this is to move to a cloud-based system for full visibility of activity through a central control center where you can monitor unauthorized access.

Some other ways to ensure the protection of patient data and medical devices:

  • Employee training in health organizations reduces the risk of human error by increasing awareness of cybersecurity issues. The training topics should cover cybersecurity policies and procedures, as well as other relevant topics such as identifying and blocking malicious email.
  • Although it is considered a de facto requirement, Email encryption acts as one of the strongest safeguards for electronically transmitted PHI.
  • Two-factor authentication provides an extra layer of security and has quickly become a proven method of restricting unauthorized access to medical devices and online accounts.
  • Keep Firewalls up to date.
  • Disable all unnecessary ports and services in medical devices.

As more and more medical devices are connected to networks, it is even more important to consider the existing security controls as well as quality control. Areas to consider include protecting firmware from tampering, securing stored data, protecting data in transit, and the frequency with which firmware is updated and patched.

What does a good recovery or mitigation plan include after a data breach or other type of cyber attack?

Data breaches occur in a variety of ways, be it intentional or accidental. COVID-19 has accelerated the number of cyber attacks on health organizations. Business Continuity Plans (BCP) are a necessity to protect your company from security breaches and avoid the lengthy and expensive recovery process. After a breach, the company concerned must take immediate action by performing a risk assessment to determine which PHI and its type and scope it is. The healthcare provider must contain the breach by preventing access to the compromised system or network or temporarily suspending an affected account.

Depending on the results of the risk assessment, a healthcare provider may then need to notify the relevant authorities, the U.S. Department of Health (HHS) and affected patients. In the end, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) will most likely become one Compliance review, Case settlement – only if the company concerned indicates corrective action, voluntary compliance, and / or a settlement agreement.

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