Locking the Digital Door to Risk: Proactive IT and Website Security Strategies to Protect Your Business

Published in Orthotics & Prosthetics on May 26, 2023

Nick DideriksenBy Nick Dideriksen, Director of Business Technology, VGM Forbin

Protecting your business from an IT and website security standpoint is absolutely crucial. With the increasing number of cyber threats and data breaches, it’s important to take the necessary steps to protect your business from these risks. The risk to any business is simply too large to ignore—and it isn’t a matter of if your company is targeted, but when— especially in healthcare.


Understanding Your Risks

The first step in implementing cybersecurity best practices is to understand these risks. Your DMEPOS business collects and transmits sensitive data, such as personal health information and medical history. This data is valuable to cybercriminals, who can use it for identity theft, insurance fraud, and other nefarious purposes.


Additionally, the devices themselves can be vulnerable to attacks, which can result in the manipulation of medical data, denial of service attacks, or even physical harm to the patient. We know that DMEPOS providers must balance the need for security with the need for accessibility and ease of use. Patient data must be accessible to healthcare providers when and where it is needed, but this must be done in a way that protects the privacy and security of the data.


Security Challenges in Healthcare

One of the biggest challenges in cybersecurity in healthcare is the increasing sophistication of cyberattacks. Hackers are developing new and more complex attack methods, and are targeting healthcare organizations for the valuable patient data they hold.

A 2022 report by the cybersecurity company CrowdStrike found that the healthcare sector is the third-most targeted industry for ransomware attacks, with the average ransom payment in the sector increasing by 82% in 2021.1 And a 2022 report by the healthcare cybersecurity company Medigate found that the number of cyberattacks on healthcare organizations increased by 55% from 2020 to 2021.2 The same report found that medical device vulnerabilities increased by 47% in 2021, with many devices still running on outdated software that is no longer supported by the manufacturer.


Another challenge is the increasing complexity of DMEPOS systems, with many connected devices, networks, and software applications. Each of these systems present a potential entry point for cybercriminals, making it difficult to secure the entire system. Many healthcare organizations also have limited resources and budgets for cybersecurity, making it challenging to keep up with the evolving threat landscape. 

Plans for Improvement

Regardless, a 2021 survey by the security company CyberMDX found that 65% of healthcare organizations plan to increase their cybersecurity budgets in the coming year, with many planning to invest in new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and blockchain.3


These technologies can be used to detect and respond to cyber threats in real time, and can also be used to identify patterns and anomalies in data that may indicate a potential security breach. Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology that provides a secure and transparent way to store and share data. It can be used to store and manage patient data, ensuring that it is secure and only accessible to authorized users.

Getting Started

From a practical and easy place to start, below are two checklists with proactive strategies you can implement to help mitigate this very real risk, as well as ensure compliance with the HIPAA Security Rule.


  • Conduct ongoing risk analysis and assessments
  • Use strong passwords
  • Use multifactor authentication
  • Keep software up to date
  • Use antivirus and anti-malware software
  • Use a firewall
  • Be aware of phishing scams
  • Educate employees on cybersecurity best practices
  • Implement security policies and procedures
  • Encrypt ePHI
  • Limit access to ePHI
  • Monitor and audit activity


  • Secure your website
  • Use SSL encryption
  • Implement access controls
  • Encrypt stored data
  • Regularly update software
  • Conduct security risk assessments
  • Use alt tags for images
  • Ensure your website is keyboard accessible

Improved Security Improves Patient Care

Cybersecurity is a critical issue and risk to your business that will only become more important in the future. The increasing adoption of telemedicine and remote patient monitoring, integrated systems, and medical devices, along with the increasing sophistication of cyberattacks, present significant challenges to DMEPOS businesses. 

Together, we can create a more secure and resilient system that protects patient data and improves patient care

Together, we can create a more secure and resilient system that protects patient data and improves patient care.


  1. “2022 Global Threat Report.” CrowdStrike; 2022. Accessed February 2023. https://www.crowdstrike.com/global-threat-report/.
  2. “Healthcare IoT Security 2022 Moving beyond Device Visibility Segment Insights.” Medigate; 2022. Accessed February 2023. https://www.medigate.io/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/KLAS-2022-Segment-Report-Brief.pdf.
  3. “Perspectives in Healthcare Security.” CyberMDX and Philips; 2021. Accessed February 2023. https://www.forescout.com/perspectives-in-healthcare-securityreport/


VGM Playbook Safeguarding Your Future in DMEPOSThis article was originally featured in the VGM Playbook: Safeguarding Your Future in DMEPOS. To read the full article and more like this, download your copy of the playbook today


  1. cybersecurity
  2. dmepos
  3. playbook
  4. vgm

From Our Experts

A Letter From the President, Adam Miller: May 2024 thumbnail A Letter From the President, Adam Miller: May 2024 OPGA has adopted the moniker, “Savings. Solutions. Something Bigger,” to represent our mission and offerings for our membership. We strive to live that mentality and have it be more of a compass point than just a slogan. OPGA, VGM Education Expand Educational Offering to Members thumbnail OPGA, VGM Education Expand Educational Offering to Members OPGA is excited to announce that members can now access 20 complimentary CE courses through their educational offering with VGM Education. NAAOP Selects Taylor Haines as the 2024 Breece Fellow thumbnail NAAOP Selects Taylor Haines as the 2024 Breece Fellow NAAOP is proud to announce that Taylor Haines has been competitively selected as the 2024 George and Dena Breece Fellow. Savings. Solutions. Something Bigger: Highlighting O&P Leadership thumbnail Savings. Solutions. Something Bigger: Highlighting O&P Leadership The O&P profession is filled with leaders and innovators who strive to advance the profession and raise awareness about the critical role of education, networking, and advocacy in O&P. [Important Announcement] Updated 855S Application Released thumbnail [Important Announcement] Updated 855S Application Released For those businesses that have been patiently waiting for the 855S application to be updated with the Lymphedema Compression Treatment items as a product being offered, it is finally here. Medicare Orthotics and Prosthetics Patient-Centered Care Act Introduced in the Senate thumbnail Medicare Orthotics and Prosthetics Patient-Centered Care Act Introduced in the Senate Today, Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Steve Daines (R-MT) introduced the bi-partisan Medicare Orthotics and Prosthetics Patient-Centered Care Act in the Senate. 2024 Audit and Compliance Forecast thumbnail 2024 Audit and Compliance Forecast President of The van Halem Group, Wayne van Halem, provides his insight on what suppliers should expect to see from an audit and compliance perspective in 2024. OPGA, Össur Name Recipients of O&P Grants thumbnail OPGA, Össur Name Recipients of O&P Grants Matthew Jones and Kelley Berk have been selected as the recipients of two O&P grants.