With the average cost of a data breach now near the 4 million dollar mark, there is no business on the planet built to absorb that kind of hit. Not only that, but the cost of unsecured cloud computing in healthcare is much higher when you factor in potential lawsuits and fines. Keeping your certification and keeping regulators out of your hair requires you to take your patients’ security seriously.
Here are five tips to protect privacy while taking your data and computing efforts online.
1. Protect Your Network
The most obvious entry point for your network data is going to be through your network. If a hacker can get access to your network, it could get access to anything on local machines and even use those machines to get to the cloud-based data.
IT departments need to worry about perimeter security but also need to have the technology to isolate intruders. Attacks occur on companies of all sizes every day. Many of them are routine brute force attacks but if a more sophisticated attacker gets in, you need to stop them from getting any further.
Segregating your networks rather than unifying them allows you to contain any issues. Keeping an intruder locked into a certain area not only keeps the damage isolated to one area but it also means that they will have to do much more work to get in. When a hacker tries to get into your segregated networks, you might be able to see a pattern and lock the intruder out before they get access to critical data.
2. Focus on Training
Your staff members might be well-intentioned but leaving your medical data open to being accessed by very innocuous-seeming actions could prove damaging. It could be negligence and in some cases, it could be malicious. However, you need some hurdles in place to ensure that even those with privileged access cannot cause a data breach.
All IT security programs need an employee education program to accompany their cyber-security efforts. Keeping patient data secure is a team effort.
All staff should have a robust understanding of what constitutes a HIPAA violation and what does not. If they do not know the borders of legality, they might step over the line constantly.
They need to also understand what the most common phishing tactics are. The types of social engineering and ransomware attacks that have become commonplace use a few repetitive tactics. Your employees need to know them when they see them.
All new and current staff need a training on proper password usage and application.
3. Smart Watch & Mobile Devices
If your team uses personal devices, laptops, or tablets in their day to day data collection efforts, they need to be encrypted. If an employee goes to a cafe to finish up some work, connecting to that public Wi-Fi connection gives hackers the chance to gather data. Hackers routinely hang out on those networks to take a look at machines that connect to pick up stray bits of worthwhile data.
Medical data is securely encrypted for reasons of privacy but also because it is so valuable. If you get data from a group of patients, that data could be sold or used by marketers to sell products.
If those devices are sending out data that are not encrypted on both ends, that information can be lost or stolen. Make sure that you have a strict policy regarding the use of personal devices that are unencrypted, especially if employees are allowed to work on them.
4. Secure Your Wi-Fi
Wireless networks, as stated in the point above, are a great way for hackers to set up a honeypot to collect this valuable data. While it is a necessity for companies and facilities to use wireless routers in their office networks, they need to be set up carefully. There are a lot of potential security vulnerabilities that could be introduced if they are not installed correctly.
Malware and viruses can be easily installed by hacking into networks. This hacking does not have to happen by entering the building. It could be done from the parking lot or from an adjacent office. All they need is to get access to your Wi-Fi network.
If you use outdated technology, like WEP secured routers, they could be easily accessed by hackers. In order to protect against these attacks, it is important to update this technology regularly. Secure passwords that follow best practices will keep you one step ahead of hackers.
Passwords should be changed frequently and unauthorized devices should be de facto blocked from accessing your network.
5. Clean Up Your Data
One of the most common ways for a hacker to get access to your data is through old or depreciated accounts. If you have information kicking around from old users or default passwords on networked devices, that data needs to be eliminated.
The more data that you have, the more chances you have for criminals to steal it. Patient information that is no longer necessary should be deleted as part of a blanket policy. When an employee is no longer part of your organization, their company profile should be eliminated and their access should be revoked.
Audit your information on a regular basis. If there are redundancies that only multiplies the chances that you will run into a problem. Old devices should be wiped clean and all duplicate accounts should be immediately deleted.
If those old accounts had access to your cloud-based data, leaving them active puts customers at risk.
Cloud Computing in Healthcare is a Necessity
If you want to offer patients access to their records and take advantage of the latest medical technology, you have to stay on top of changes. Cloud computing in healthcare brings a lot of possibilities for growth but just as many potential problems.
Contact us today if you need more tips for implementing cloud computing carefully in your facility.
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.