Overview of Healthcare IT Risk and Security
Healthcare is at a huge risk with their IT and security, especially in today’s times. Traditionally, patient information and records were kept in paper charts, but today, everything has moved to electronic medical records and digital copies. This new set of technology has been so beneficial, but must be protected. Cybersecurity is a major concern in today’s healthcare world, as regulations, laws, and politics change. It is your practice’s responsibility to asses and mitigate every security and IT risk that could affect your patients and practice. If you need assistance with this, The Bienville Group is happy to assist.
Why is my healthcare practice at risk for IT and Security problems?
Healthcare and medical practices are always at a higher risk because of two main reasons. The first being, there are so many employees that have access to so much information. A hacker can assume that someone in your organization will fall for a phishing or hacking attempt. The other reason being they assume that your practice does not have extravagant back up system in place.
What is phishing?
Phishing attacks are so common in the healthcare industry and it is crucial to ensure that your practice is safe from these. Phishing has two main goals: to steal patient health information and to deliver ransomware. Stealing patient information is typically done to sell this information to someone else in an effort to obtain medical treatment, commit insurance fraud, or to create false identities. Delivering ransomware to a network at your practice can be done to demand significant ransoms for these files to be given back to your practice.
These attacks are significantly increasing throughout the healthcare industry. In order to avoid this happening to your practice, security training for your employees is essential. Your employees may not be aware of all of the methods that a hacker can go through, so they must be well-educated to protect your patients and your practice.
In most cases, these phishing attacks are done through email, but can also be done through social media. These emails and ads look authentic, so the education is important to note what to look for. Typically, employees will be asked to click a link to a webpage where they will be asked to complete an action that will trigger the download or entering their information to continue. It is important to note, that not all of these downloads are considered to be ransomware, but can be spyware to watch your employee’s usernames, passwords, and other important information. If a hacker can collect this information, then they will be able to access your patient’s health information.
Physical Devices and Security
One aspect of security that may not be focused on as regularly as possible is the physical devices that your practice owns. If a laptop, phone, computer, etc. were to go missing, there is countless amounts of data to found on any of these devices. Your practice should have an inventory list and update it regularly. Your employees should know how and where to report missing physical devices, and the report should be done immediately.
This does not only mean that employees are at fault for these missing devices. These can also be missing through a physical event, like a hurricane, fire, or improper storage of these devices. If a natural disaster hits your practice, do you have someone responsible for the physical devices?
The Bienville Group is an expert at compiling this information for your practice. To get an inventory list going for your practice, please call us now!
How can I help my practice avoid being at risk for IT and Security problems?
There are a variety of steps to take to ensure that your practice is safe from IT risk and security problems. The first is to schedule a consultation with The Bienville Group. Through this consultation, we will be able to complete a total risk assessment and look for any gaps in your security.
After completion of this risk assessment, we will discuss any holes that are found with your security and build an individualized path to correct these issues.
Once your consultation and risk assessment with The Bienville Group is complete, then it is important to allow us to continuously train your employees. This can be done through in person meetings, mailings, tests, etc. Testing your employees is vital to ensure your safety is at top performance. An example of these tests may be a fake phishing scam through your employee’s email addresses to see who clicks the link.
One of the other main topics that we will discuss is keeping an open line of communication open with your employees. It is important that your employees know how and where to report any risk or security problem that they run into. The Bienville Group can help you create a central location for these reports to be sent. For example, if an employee is sent an email that seems suspicious, they should be properly trained enough to know to send it to a certain email address for further investigation and to block the sender from your servers.
You should also block all unnecessary websites from your employees. The Bienville Group will be able to help you narrow down which websites to block through location, file downloads, fake websites, etc. These websites typically vary from practice to practice.