Data breaches can be devastating, and healthcare organizations continue to account for a significant share of reported data breaches. Why? Health care facilities carry some of the most sensitive data files, supplying hackers with the intel that has limitless potential to not only effect the health care organization that they have infiltrated, but also the patients involved in the breach.
No company is immune from a security attack or breach. Keeping patient, clinic and hospital information secure is critical, but that’s a challenge that is becoming more difficult to address as the number of attempted breaches rises. Breaches occur due to email security, lost devices, poor network security or hardware intrusion.
Did you know that 89% of health care organizations have already experienced a breach of some kind over the course of their time in operation. That means that 1/3 of Americans experiencing data breaches are patients – and that patient relationship made them vulnerable. It’s estimated that over 25 million Americans will have their data stolen from their health care provider’s digitized record base. This is one reason it is so important to take care of problems now so that you can better prepare for tomorrow.
It’s no surprise that more and more Americans are concerned about their medical and personal data being targeted by hackers. Although a breach can happen in a variety of different ways, the most common cause of breaches within the health care field is simply human error. Using unauthorized cloud-based apps, using weak passwords, shared passwords between healthcare providers, losing backup discs and poorly protected servers are some of the most common errors.
So what can you do as a healthcare provider to reduce your chances of a security breach?
- Test for Weaknesses. Don’t just assume your security measures are working – test them regularly for weaknesses and vulnerabilities before would-be attackers discover them.
- Don’t Forget the Human Element. No matter how good your information security protection is, if your employees don’t understand their roles and processes, they could inadvertently help facilitate a breach. Continual training is imperative – give your employees the knowledge and tools they need to be aware and proactive.
- Don’t assume you won’t have a breach. Even if you have all your security measures in place, make sure you have a response procedure in place and employees know how to contain and react to breaches.
- Last, but surely not least make sure you have the proper Cyber Security Insurance coverage in place in the event of a breach. Sit down with your agent to discuss
As healthcare IT becomes more advanced, new security issues will arise, so it’s important to keep up with current conflicts to protect your patients and your practice. We suggest monthly internal audits and regularly scheduled team meetings to ensure you are doing the best you can to protect your client’s privacy.
It’s up to you to protect your patients and organization. At Litchfield Bancorp, we know how stressful that can be, so we make banking with us easy. To learn more about banking with us, give us a call or stop into any of our locations.
Bob E. Teittinen
Commercial Lender, Senior Vice President