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5 ways to keep healthcare data secure

Healthcare data is a prime target for cybercriminals. While the bigger breaches are publicized, some of the more common intrusions are not. Right now, a breach is occurring and no one knows about it.

Medical information is worth ten times more than financial information such as credit card numbers and bank account numbers. The healthcare industry is worth an estimated $3 trillion, and criminals want a piece of it.

The stakes are high and the treasure trove of information has a big payout. So, how do you protect it?

Here are 5 ways you can keep the healthcare data at your business secure.

1. Upgrade the system and the team

Many healthcare providers and hospitals still rely on old Windows systems that have not been updated or patched. While many establishments make the financial investment into new medical equipment, IT is often an afterthought.

Not only does the system need to be updated, but the staff does as well. Employees are involved in a number of security breaches, whether accidentally or intentionally. Medical establishments must reevaluate training regarding network access, HIPAA training, password security, social media, phishing, and malware.

2. Protect the network within

Yes, it is crucial to establish network security that prevents and thwarts intrusions into the system, but medical establishments must look at what happens if perimeter security fails. Medical establishments must work with an IT team to minimize damage if an intrusion does occur. This is done by segregating network and having an external plan.

It is important for companies to perform regular vulnerability scans, penetration tests, and security assessments on the system and the employees. After the tests, medical providers must sit down with IT and employees to discuss what went wrong, what worked properly, and what needs to change.

3. Encrypt data and delete unnecessary data

The more healthcare data facility has, the more information is at risk for theft. Regular audits provide a synopsis of what type of data is stored and what can be removed. As for the remaining data, all portable devices must be encrypted to prevent theft and intrusions. One-third of data breaches involve laptops. From laptops to tablets, encrypting mobile devices is one of the top strategies to protect data. 

4. Establish a mobile device policy

If the company is going to have a BYOD policy or mobile device policy, a mobile device policy is essential whether the device belongs to the medical office or to the employee. A mobile device policy spells out what type of data can be stored, when and where data can be accessed, what can be deleted, who can access the device, and what types of apps are permitted.

5. Seek professional assistance

It is impossible to handle healthcare data security alone. Many offices and establishments are making the shift to cloud computing services and professional IT services. IT service providers help medical offices evaluate their current IT situation, make security recommendations, and provide medical establishments with tools and resources for developing a response plan, a security plan, and a strategy for future growth and protection.

There are many things to consider when it comes to protecting healthcare data and business integrity. None of the steps should be taken lightly, and professionals must understand there is more to healthcare data security beyond what we have listed for you. For an in-depth assessment and understanding, contact your managed IT services provider.