Of all the industries that regularly use technology, healthcare has been one of the most avid adopters of new innovations, including mobile devices and the cloud. Electronic health record legislation, while sometimes burdensome, has resulted in significant benefits for hospitals, doctors and other health professionals, though the technology developments may be moving quicker than web security standards can keep up.
A year-long cybersecurity study by The Washington Post recently found that healthcare is the most susceptible industry when it comes to data breaks, including software holes and weak security practices. Best practices like using data encryption software and strong passwords were often sidestepped in the name of convenience.
“[In] recent months, officials with the Department of Homeland Security have expressed growing fear that health care presents an inviting target to activist hackers, cyberwarriors, criminals and terrorists.”
“These vulnerabilities may result in possible risks to patient safety and theft or loss of medical information,” a DHS intelligence bulletin said in May.
Security holes include patient data that is protected with only a username and password to authenticate users (usually stored in online sites like Dropbox). Hospital staff accessed the account via their iPads as an easy way to improve patient care. These gaps in data protection have caused experts to call for stricter oversight in the healthcare industry, including the using data encryption software and other security solutions.
The growing threat of healthcare data security
Although healthcare hasn’t been targeted like the finance industry, the risk grows as healthcare providers amass increasing amounts of patients’ data. The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse recorded 419 data breaches in the medical industry in the past two years, resulting in over 8.1 million compromised records. This roughly equals the number of records jeopardized in the insurance and financial services industry, leading experts to believe that hospitals and other healthcare facilities are already a familiar target for cybercriminals.
Fortunately, there are options for healthcare organizations that want to better protect their data, including encryption software and hardware that’s designed to safeguard your patients’ information.
Want to know how you can better protect your healthcare business? Contact us, we can walk you through a variety of solutions.