There is a good chance you have already taken steps to protect your medical practice, hospital, or clinic by implementing the use of cloud-based healthcare software. After all, the cloud uses several redundant facilities for storing data to keep it safe if a catastrophic breakdown occurs.
While this is true, if you have been paying attention to the news, you know healthcare organizations are a huge target for hackers. You also know the negative effects a data breach can have on your practice, including the loss of money, time, and reduced patient trust.
Investing in managed IT services in the Bay Area can help alleviate the issues related to cybersecurity threats. Other tips to help you protect patient data can be found here.
Understanding the Risk
Before diving into specific steps you can take to protect your patient data, you need to fully understand the risk.
Clinics, doctors’ offices, and hospitals have all been exposed to cybersecurity threats, which can cause serious repercussions and consequences. One of the most common methods of attack is installing ransomware.
Once your system is compromised, which may occur because of an employee clicking a link in a suspicious email, all patient files are held “hostage” until the requested ransom is paid. Computer viruses can be delivered through texts, emails, and websites that are set up to attack an unsophisticated and naïve end user.
Tips to Protect Patient Data
Now that you understand the risk, we can dive into the specifics of how you can protect your patient data. Keep reading to learn what those tips are.
Ensure Your Staff Is Properly Trained
In many situations, the weakest link in your cybersecurity is the user. Making sure your staff knows all the right measures to take—and enforcing these measures—makes your organization much more secure.
It may be wise to bring in a consultant or managed IT service to determine the level of knowledge your team has. They can also provide information on some of the latest security protocols available.
Make sure your security team can carefully control access to patient records. Only authorized individuals should be able to access the details in these records.
You can also audit your system to figure out who accessed these records and when. Make sure you remove access for employees who have been terminated, quit, or are no longer with the organization. This process can keep these individuals from gaining access to the system and causing issues.
Avoid Using the Same Password for Everything
If you use passwords that are easy to guess or if you use the same password for all different platforms, then it will significantly increase vulnerabilities in your organization. Human nature motivates workers to use the same password for accessing information, but this is a huge mistake.
While it is tempting to use the same password for everything, the ease of logging in is no worth it. This method does not follow the modern patient security requirements and does not have a place in your healthcare organization.
All a hacker or criminal has to do is find one working password, and then apply it to all the accounts of the user. This results in serious data theft. Criminals may also cause even more problems if they access your system and alter the information found in patient files.
The best solution is to force workers to change their passwords regularly. This process makes sure that if a criminal can find a password, access will be cut off when the next password update is enacted.
Keep Your Passwords in a Secure Location
All workers in your healthcare facility need to know the rules and requirements for storing passwords. Make sure they know to never put them in a shared email or document.
Instead, they need to use a secure password storing system. Remember, a common reason people do not follow security protocols relates to their limited memory.
Rather than writing the passwords on sticky notes kept in a desk drawer, it is more effective if every user creates a password based on a phrase. For example, “Each morning I check texts while the coffee is brewing.” They can use the first letter of each word to create their password “emictwtcib.”
Make sure to include uppercase letters and special characters to make the password even more secure.
Regularly Conduct Risk Assessments
If you do not know where your vulnerabilities are, it can be more challenging to protect yourself against an attack. You are not going to know the security issues in your organization if you do not conduct risk assessments regularly.
Here, complacency is your enemy. Your IT team can handle this risk assessment. You can also hire a company to handle this, which is often beneficial since they are a third-party, uninvolved service.
Hiring the Right Managed IT Services in the Bay Area
If you want to ensure you can protect your patient’s private and sensitive information, hiring the right managed IT services in the Bay Area is the smartest thing you can do. Take some time to research the options and find the service provider that best suits your needs.
If you are ready to get started, contact us. Our team can provide a quality risk assessment for your healthcare practice, provide employee training, and ensure you get the solutions needed for your business.
Do not underestimate the benefits of taking action. If you wait, you are putting your patient’s information and your entire healthcare practice at-risk.
Sagacent Technologies offers technology management and support, including proactive/preventative maintenance, onsite and offsite data back-ups, network and security audits, mobility solutions, disaster planning, and emergency business resumption services. The company serves clients of 10 to 150 employees within the Silicon Valley region.