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Cybersecurity in the Health Care Industry: Measuring Your Data Exposure Risk

Posted on in Cybersecurity

The health care industry is currently the top target for cybersecurity hacks. Despite all of the regulatory requirements around data privacy and security, healthcare organizations continue to lag in cybersecurity compared to other industries. In the last few years, this has made theft of healthcare records a lucrative business, because successful cyber-attacks have the potential to obtain personal, medical and financial information.

The first step to protect your data is to educate yourself and your staff about cyber exposure. Keep reading for our simplified guide to data exposure.

Know the Risks

First, you have to determine which data is sensitive enough to require extra security. In the healthcare industry, hackers are after:

  • Banking information: account numbers and credit cards
  • Medical Information: unique facts that make a person vulnerable to a cyber attack
  • Personal Information: SSN, date of birth, etc.
  • Usernames and passwords to various accounts

    Any system you have that encrypts this kind of data can also be decrypted. This means that it is your responsibility to take extra steps protect your business and your patients’ information.

    Calculate Your Risks

    There are three primary areas of potential loss for cyber-attacks in the healthcare industry.

  • Identity Hijacking – This is primarily a loss for your patients. If someone steals their personal information, they can suffer major financial loss. They lose valuable time trying to track down and regain their finances as well as reclaim their personal information. Equifax even reports the large emotional loss that victims of identity theft suffer.
  • Decreased Brand Trust – When patients find out that their information is vulnerable in your system, they are less likely to trust the hospital or company in general. This leads to a decrease in clients and patients, and every person in the organization suffers.
  • Financial Loss – This is the most tangible form of loss. At VGM Secure Tech, we recommend you calculate possible loss by multiplying the number of patient records in your systems by $500 to give you an idea of what to expect should you have a complete system breach.

    Address the Risks

    It’s clear to most of us that cyber security should not be taken lightly, but what steps should an organization take to prevent loss? Below is a list of our top suggestions:

  • Backup as much and as often as you can offsite from your network, then test your backups
  • Update and patch software
  • Install a smart firewall
  • Prohibit the use of personal devices on your business network
  • Get a 3rd party to test your systems for vulnerabilities
  • Educate and re-educate your staff
  • Purchase cyber liability insurance
At VGM Secure Tech, we’re focused on protecting our members from the loss that comes with a cybersecurity attack. Contact us today to see how our IT professionals and expert partners can help prevent a data breach at your organization.