Over the last several decades, the healthcare field has undergone massive changes and evolutions. One of the biggest of these changes is a heavy reliance on digital technology in a variety of forms. This has streamlined a wide variety of processes, made healthcare workers more effective in their roles, and improved efficiency in medical settings across the country.
Unfortunately, this has also made healthcare organizations across the globe more vulnerable to criminals in key ways. Specifically, cybercriminals — who have become more advanced, skilled, and dangerous in their approaches over the last several years — now have a wide array of opportunities to hack healthcare systems for nefarious reasons.
Thankfully, healthcare organizations don’t have to leave themselves completely vulnerable. By taking a meaningful approach to cybersecurity, these organizations can better safeguard themselves from the many looming cybersecurity threats looming in the world today.
Here are comprehensive cybersecurity approaches for diverse healthcare ventures.
Why Healthcare Ventures of All Sizes Need to Have Robust Cybersecurity Measures
Whether an advanced nurse is opening a nurse practitioner clinic or a venture-backed start-up is creating new software for healthcare organizations, cybersecurity is of the utmost importance.
One of the key reasons for this is that people receiving medical care provide healthcare organizations with a significant amount of personal information. From important financial information to social security numbers, having this type of info fall into the wrong hands could have dramatic and terrible repercussions for those impacted.
Another key reason that all types of healthcare organizations need to have exceptional cybersecurity measures in place is to protect private organizational information. Whether it’s top-secret intellectual property or bank routing numbers, cybercriminals can exploit these organizations if they gain access to these types of information.
As one can see, healthcare organizations of all shapes and sizes need to be thinking about their approaches to cybersecurity from inception. A failure to do so could negatively impact countless lives and even cause a healthcare organization to completely fail.
How Healthcare Ventures Should Approach Cybersecurity
Like many other fields in tech, cybersecurity is a broad and complicated field. It can get even more convoluted when organizations have a bigger digital presence that includes private networks, websites, and mobile applications.
This being the case, taking the right approach to cybersecurity can have an immense impact on the safety of organizations. For healthcare ventures newly entering the business landscape, it’s vital to have a rough understanding of how they should be protecting themselves.
Some key cybersecurity measures that healthcare organizations should be aware of include:
Backing up data
No matter how secure a system may seem, it’s vital to always back up data to a different location. In the case of a cyberattack such as a ransomware attack, healthcare organizations can rest assured that their data isn’t at risk of being destroyed.
Educating staff on best practices
No matter how significant and robust one’s cybersecurity measures are, it won’t matter if employees are engaging in unsafe practices. This being the case, all healthcare-related organizations should regularly train staff to engage in the safest and most secure practices possible.
Taking extra precautions to secure patient data
As has been noted, healthcare organizations typically house a large amount of private data about patients. A leak of this information leaves these patients vulnerable to financial fraud and identity theft. To help make sure this doesn’t happen, it’s vital that healthcare organizations take extra precautions to keep this data secure.
Being mindful of third-party vendors
Believe it or not, third-party vendors can make it easy for hackers to bypass even the most robust cybersecurity defenses. This is because if third-party vendors have access to a healthcare organization’s network, cybercriminals who hack the third-party vendors will as well. As such, all healthcare organizations should limit the amount of access that third-party vendors have to their networks.
Consistently changing passwords
Though it may seem obvious, many healthcare organizations have used the same passwords for logins and email accounts for years. These can easily be compromised, potentially giving cybercriminals easy access to one’s network. Consequently, healthcare organizations must require employees to change passwords consistently.
Having plans for responding to cyberattacks
Though no organization wants to be the victim of a cyberattack, failing to plan for the scenario can have dire consequences. This being the case, organizations can mitigate the amount of harm and damage that cyber criminals can do by having robust cybersecurity response plans in place.
The Importance of Creating a Culture of Security
Those interested in creating a healthcare business must be aware of the immense risk they are in of being the victim of a cyberattack. Healthcare organizations are some of the biggest targets for cybercriminals because of the vast amount of information and data that their systems house.
To help mitigate these risks, founders, operators, and leaders of healthcare organizations must do everything in their power to cultivate a culture of security. This requires educating employees about the best cybersecurity practices while also familiarizing them with the dire consequences of cyberattacks.
At the root of this process is meaningful cybersecurity training and a culture in which cybersecurity is regularly talked about. This will encourage employees to be more diligent in their duties and practices while also giving them a good sense of the types of anomalies and suspicious activity they should report to superiors.
Ultimately, this type of company culture can make healthcare organizations much stronger in the face of highly sophisticated cyber criminals. In addition, it will help safeguard the information of countless innocent patients whose lives could be ruined if that information were leaked.
Cybersecurity Should Be a Top Priority for All Healthcare Organizations
From small clinics to large technology-driven healthcare start-ups, all organizations in the healthcare space have a responsibility to engage in meaningful cybersecurity efforts. Whether it’s training employees or taking extra precautions with patient data, these practices can help deter cybercriminals and keep data safe.
As time goes on and new innovations are created in cybersecurity, many hope that cyberattacks in healthcare will soon become a phenomenon of the past.
About the Author
Ryan Ayers is a researcher and consultant within multiple industries including information technology, blockchain and business development. Always up for a challenge, Ayers enjoys working with startups as well as Fortune 500 companies. When not at work, Ayers loves reading science fiction novels and watching the LA Clippers.