In 2017, data breaches affected over 5.5 million patient records. Attacks are becoming more sophisticated, making it difficult for in-house IT teams to adequately protect healthcare organizations from ever-increasing threats and securing patient data.
As threats continue to plague the healthcare industry, many organizations are turning to managed IT services to secure patient data.
Security Challenges for the Healthcare Industry
Because electronic health records contain highly personal information including social security numbers, healthcare is the number one target for cybercrime.
Last year the WannaCry virus devastated the UK National Health Service, bringing to light that government systems are just as vulnerable to data breaches. Because of the simplicity of ransomware attacks, they are growing in popularity among cybercriminals.
The biggest security challenges facing healthcare organizations when securing patient data include:
Hospitals and healthcare systems have often outgrown their software and have to find creative solutions to keep their network secure. With the proliferation of IoT and BYOD services, healthcare IT departments are often not able to keep up with the new ways patient data is created, accessed and processed.
Because healthcare organizations are laser-focused on saving lives, other areas get priority consideration in the budget. CIOs are left to balance their growing needs against a shrinking percentage of the money available.
In 2015, KPMG reported that 4 out of 5 healthcare executives reported their systems were compromised. Symantec believes that underspending on cybersecurity is the reason why healthcare organizations are such frequent targets.
Understaffing and Lack of Skilled Workers is Common
Less money to spend on IT means that understaffing and undereducated employees are common. Most cyberattacks usually occur due to employee negligence.
Less money means less staff, and a lack of resources to provide training and update the skills of current workers. Inadequate training leaves employees on their own to figure out how to protect data being sent over networks from connected devices like x-ray machines (a common target for backdoor attacks) and accessed by patients via mobile phones, tablets and computers. Securing patient data is continually becoming more and more complex.
Undertrained staff combined with a lack of enough employees to protect a network combine to leave networks open to viruses, malware, and increasingly popular ransomware attacks.
In 2017, Cancer Services of East Indiana-Little Red Door was attacked by TheDarkOverlord (TDO). This group of cybercriminals blocked access to patient data in exchange for a ransom of 50 Bitcoin, valued at $43,000.
Cybersecurity Skills Shortage Means Less Available Workers
Not only are healthcare companies often understaffed and less up-to-date on skills, but a shortage of skilled workers make hiring difficult. Healthcare plans on increasing hiring by 20% according, but it’s estimated that there will be a shortage of 1.8 million workers by 2022.
Attacks Threaten HIPPA & Other Regulatory Compliance
Healthcare organizations are subject to heavy regulatory burdens that govern the way data should be protected.
Though HIPPA compliance regulations haven’t changed much in the past 4 years, healthcare companies are also required to comply with a large number of regulations from bodies including the FDA, Meaningful Use, FERPA, JCAHO and SOX.
Cyberattacks put organizations at risk for penalties due to noncompliance.
Managed IT is Less Expensive Than Break/Fix Services
Being proactive with your cybersecurity needs is the easiest way to keep an organization running smoothly. Because of the urgent nature of the healthcare industry, companies can’t wait for a vendor to find and correct data access problems. Cybercriminals know healthcare organizations need access to ePHI on demand and will often pay ransoms to avoid waiting.
If you don’t call for help until there’s a problem, you’re already too late. Managed IT services are completely scalable, and can grow with your organization. They cost less than break/fix services in the long run and eliminate the need to constantly retrain staff and hire new employees.
Using a managed service provider (MSP) like CIOTech provides you 24/7 access to skilled personnel that are available to assist you immediately. With today’s ever-changing technology, you need a partner in your corner that cannot only assess current threats but stay on top of upcoming issues and prevent data breaches.
Call us today at 813-649-7762 to learn more about how we can help you with securing patient data.