Healthcare organizations need to implement robust and flexible cybersecurity measures to secure their data and applications.
FREMONT, CA – The patient record incidents in the healthcare sector are steadily declining as organizations are upgrading their security measures. However, the overall data breaches have increased over the last few years. The health insurance portability and accountability act (HIPAA) report recorded 46 healthcare data breaches in April 2019 alone. The report only evinces that no healthcare facility is immune to cyberattacks.
The fact that over 75 percent of healthcare organizations invest less than 6 percent of their IT budgets on cybersecurity is rather disconcerting, especially in the looming shadow of cybercriminals. Rather than considering cyberattacks as hypothetical situations, organizations should plan their security strategies as if cyber threats are right around the corner.
Preparing a robust data breach response plan is vital to thwart cyberattacks, or in the worst-case scenario, mitigate the adversity of cyberattacks. The cybersecurity strategy has to be established and circulated among the key members of the organizations, and also the IT teams. It is advisable to review and update it regularly to ensure its effectiveness in dealing with breaches.
Collaborating with security solution providers will enable healthcare organizations to identify the data and systems that require immediate attention. Regular auditing and evaluation can help reduce chaos during crises. Also, it is essential to review the capabilities of the security teams and maintain contact with the best security vendors and partners to alleviate unmanageable catastrophes.
Having robust strategies in place will enable healthcare organizations to react decisively to data cyberattacks and prepare adequately for successive breaches. It is essential to document the specific facts, including the date and time of data breach discovery, and the actions taken to counter the attack. It will enable them to communicate the data breach details to relevant authorities, partners, and patients.
The organizations should isolate the affected systems, disable access points, change the credentials, and separate the internet traffic in the EMR from the hardware devices. The identified malware should be quarantined, and a post-breach review should be conducted as soon as things are under control.
Honesty and transparency are logical post cyberattacks since the HIPAA Breach Notification Rule requires the covered entities to report a breach within 60 days to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services if over 500 individuals are affected by it. Efficient collaboration with media relations and legal teams can aid the organizations in releasing appropriate information to the authorities and employees.
Healthcare organizations might also need to make public statements depending on the scope of the data breach. Although cyberattacks are detrimental to its reputation, withholding information will only escalate the situation, and might even lead to the erosion of customer trust. To alleviate the condition, organizations can consult with experts and divulge only the essential details, thus ensuring customer assurance.
Documenting the entire process is crucial, as it might aid the organization in developing effective strategies to deal with data breaches in the future. Incorporating robust artificial intelligence (AI) to automate certain security operations will take cybersecurity a long way, helping healthcare providers to form a well-rounded protection strategy.