As the healthcare industry has gone digital, especially after the outbreak of the covid pandemic, patient data has become even more vital. The data includes patients’ medical history, their financial records, and other important personal information. And leak of such private data could cause havoc as intruders could use this sensitive information and forge the details.
With healthcare solutions going increasingly digital, it has become difficult for organizations to protect important data. The healthcare providers are expected to render quality patient care and services and also meet the regulatory requirements set by HIPPA. They must also follow the General Protection Data Regulation (GDPR) as Protected Health Information (PHI) is among the top and most sensitive private data.
Moreover, despite the plethora of compliance existing today, electronic health data is still not secured. Managing healthcare security services requires a mix of everything. Whether it is smart to use technology or educate healthcare professionals about the importance of sensitive information, healthcare-managed security services should include everything.
Thus, in this blog, we will discuss in detail the top 10 tips for cybersecurity in healthcare. With increasing regulatory requirements and high scrutiny on secured patient delivery, it has become inevitable for healthcare firms to follow these tips.
Let us begin!
Top 10 tips for cybersecurity in health care
The threats in the digital healthcare realm have been constantly evolving. Therefore, to address these risks, healthcare organizations must implement comprehensive security measures to protect patient data. Therefore, while curating the top 10 tips for cybersecurity in healthcare, we have made sure to address all the privacy and data protection end points such as:
- Safeguarding the data while it is in transit.
- Making the network system more immune to threats.
- Keeping the approach of data protection sophisticated and more.
Thus, let us understand what are the top 10 tips for cybersecurity in healthcare are:
1. Restrict access to data application
There must be restricted access to vital patient information to only those healthcare professionals who require the data in their job. Keeping the data restricted would reinforce the user’s credibility. In addition, this would make it easier for the hospital authority to keep track of the activities that are done with the data.
The hospital authorities must implement a multi-factor authentication approach as it would ensure only authorized users have access to the data. In the multi-factor authentication process, there are two or more validation steps that the user has to go through, they are:
- A unique card or key that the user must possess.
- A unique PIN that is known only by the user.
- A unique biometric such as facial recognition, fingerprint scanner, eye scanning, etc.
Restricted data access will help in bettering healthcare-managed security services by the organization and increase the faith of the patients in them as well.
2. Make the hospital staff aware
If we say that managing healthcare security services is a proper amalgamation of a ‘human-machine’ partnership, it would not be an overstatement. We all know that humans are prone to error and this could be one of the biggest threats in the healthcare data protection field.
Human negligence could have expensive contradictions and therefore it is necessary to educate the healthcare staff. The hospital authorities must make the staff aware of the information they put in the hospital security software. The hospital staff must be given optimal training on how to work with the security software. Moreover, they must have the requisite knowledge to taking smart and quick decisions in face of adversities.
If the hospital staff is not cautious about handling the patient data, it could lead to difficult situations in the long run.
3. Have regular monitoring of data usage
For healthcare managed security services to work at their full potential, it is vital to monitor all the logging access and usage data. Auditing the logging access would be vital in finding the areas of concern for the hospital authorities. Therefore, it becomes easier to take protective measures and strengthen the loopholes (if any) in the overall data security process.
Analyzing the logging and data usage information would help the hospital organization in tracking the trail if any data breach incident occurs. It would be easier to determine the cause of the data breach, pinpoint what were the entry points of the data breach and take necessary actions to rectify it.
As the hospital authorities would find it easier to evaluate the damages, they could also minimize the negative impacts of the data breach.
4. Always encrypt the sensitive data
Encrypting is by far the most useful data protection method used in a plethora of industries, especially the healthcare sector. Data encryption helps in safeguarding the information whether it is at rest or in transit. In addition, this method makes it virtually impossible for cyber attackers or intruders to perform any kind of malicious activities on the data.
There are no stringent guidelines on how to implement the encryption method in providing the data security measures by HIPPA. Instead, the organization has left this at the hand of the hospitals and the healthcare providers as the sensitivity of the data differs from place to place.
Encryption of sensitive patient information would have some impact on the daily workflow of the hospital as well. Therefore, healthcare service providers must keep their staff on the same page by implementing the data encryption methods.
5. Securing the data on mobile devices
With the increase in the usage of mobile apps for healthcare services, it has become necessary to have data secured on mobile devices as well. Whether it is a physician rendering treatment or a patient giving information about their ailment, mobile devices can be used for multiple functions. Therefore, it is necessary to have multi-layered security to protect the data on mobile devices. Some of the top tips for cybersecurity in healthcare-related to mobile devices are:
Make it mandatory for everyone to use strong passwords.
- Multi-point management of device configurations, settings, and devices.
- Regular education to patients and hospital staff about how to keep their data secured on a mobile device.
- Implementing strong guidelines and policies to make sure that all the mobile apps are meeting the pre-defined criteria.
- Making it compulsory to install all the necessary device security software on smartphones.
- Educating the users to always keep their healthcare app updated to the latest mobile OS so that there are no chances of a data breach.
- Regular monitoring of the activities on all the accounts and data attachments to prevent unauthorized data exfiltration. The mobile device must have the ability to remotely lock or wipe the data for stolen devices.
6. Minimizing the risks of connected devices
With the proliferation of technology, the digitalization of healthcare services has gone way beyond mobile devices. There has been the emergence of new-age technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and more. Moreover, with the new devices, there has also been a rise in the vulnerability of data in these devices.
In the healthcare field, to ensure secure patient delivery, service providers have to minimize the risk of connected devices. There are a few top tips for cybersecurity in healthcare as far as reducing the risks of connected devices is concerned, they are:
- It is necessary to use a profound, multifactor authentication to maintain the data security
- All the connected devices should be up-to-date according to the recent mobile OS. Moreover, hospital authorities must make sure that the necessary and available patch is implemented in the connected devices
- There must be a separate network to maintain and store the data of the connected devices
- It is necessary to have regular monitoring of the hospital security software that is dedicated to the connected devices
- Disable or remove all the non-essential services from the IoT devices. Otherwise, it will stack up the space and make data monitoring even more difficult.
7. Evaluate the compliance practices of the business partners
Healthcare information gets regularly transferred between different service providers. From delivering the necessary treatment to making the payment process, each piece of information goes through different carriers. Therefore, it becomes necessary to keep a track of healthcare measured security services measures taken to protect the data at every important juncture.
Although it may seem difficult to implement a multi-faceted approach in healthcare data security measures, it is worth the pain when sensitive and valuable data is at risk. Also, to keep up with the evolving digital threats related to healthcare data, the organizations must take HIPAA compliance seriously and regulate all the necessary measures with immediate effect.
The compliance initiatives would be good to avoid any unnecessary penalties apart from keeping the important data protected from threats.
8. Regular risk assessments are a must
As important is to maintaining the data security standards of digital healthcare information, it is also necessary to conduct regular security checks. Risk assessments are essential as this process helps in the quick identification of weaknesses and vulnerabilities in the healthcare data storage system. In addition, it also informs about the immaturities of the hospital staff, inadequate security measures implemented by the vendors, and more.
By regular risk assessment, the healthcare service provider can periodically identify the potential risks and act on them to avoid costly data breaches. Moreover, regular monitoring of the potential risks can also help in maintaining the reputation of the organization and save from penalties from the regulatory authorities. Also, as the healthcare organization is aware of the problems, they can take necessary steps without any delay and minimize the impact caused.
9. Importance of off-site data backup
Along with exposing important patient information or data related to the functioning of the healthcare organization, cyberattacks can also compromise data integrity. Therefore, it is essential to have proper healthcare measured security services that include data back-up to ensure that the availability of the data is never compromised at any point. Also, healthcare organizations must keep in mind the problems caused by natural disasters such as tsunamis or earthquakes. So, if the data isn’t properly backed up, it could get lost and major repercussions would be.
Therefore, regular backup of offsite data is an important tip for cybersecurity in healthcare. In addition, there must be strict steps for data access and encryption as it will determine how safe the data is within the system. Other good practices are giving profound adherence to the data access.
Off-site data backup would play an important role in disaster recovery as well.
10. Control the data usage
There are a plethora of benefits of protective data control that go well beyond data access and monitoring. Data usage control helps in flagging any kind of malicious activities within the system so that they can be blocked in real-time. Moreover, with competent hospital security software, it would be easier to take specific actions and block the breach of sensitive data from the system.
Any kind of unauthorized emails, web uploads, printing, or copying to external drives can be avoided by implementing data usage controls. Moreover, data classification plays an important role in this process as it ensures that the sensitive data is tagged to receive the required protection within the system.
The security of sensitive healthcare data depends on a variety of factors. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the hospital to secure patient delivery by implementing the tips for cybersecurity in healthcare. Moreover, the reliability of compliance of the healthcare service provider lies in the ability to choose able vendors that have similar healthcare data protection systems.
The healthcare data numbers are increasing by the day. Therefore, the service providers must take HIPAA compliance measures seriously and start practicing good data protection activities.
We at Third Rock Techno implement all the HIPAA compliance measures while developing state-of-the-art healthcare applications. Our team of experienced software developers has rendered customized healthcare applications to our clients according to their requirements and helped their business soar ahead. Look at our work portfolio to understand more and contact us for the best healthcare application development services.