Not surprising, cyber criminals are getting sneakier with their attacks and many of them are specifically targeting healthcare (although every business needs to take proper precautions). Cybersecurity is one of the most relevant topics to healthcare executives and health IT professionals in today’s current threat climate.

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Problem 1: User safety is not a big enough priority

While health IT professionals seem to have complete focus on IT data management security, many fail to identify user-related threats as problems. That means, instead of focused on holistic measures to train and inform users about the latest attacks and schemes in which cyber criminals break into healthcare systems, they assume that their latest firewall update, antivirus platform and database management system are good enough.

Problem 2: But users are being targeted more and more in healthcare attacks!

Especially when it comes to security threats that can cause debilitating effects (think work stoppage in your clinic or office!) are attacks stemming from single user vulnerabilities.

Part of your concerns are in maintaining HIPAA compliance and preventing embarrassing breaches that could lead to loss of trust in your brand.

Problem 3: But an even bigger concern should be that your IT Support understand specifically how to prevent vulnerabilities from becoming crippling attacks.

Cyber criminals are getting more creative

One of the biggest problems your organization faces is that cybercriminals are becoming more creative in how to access your PHI data.

While some cybercriminals have advanced technical knowledge to hack into the strongest of networks, many rely on social hackers to manipulate their way onto a user’s computer by social engineering.

Why are attacks still an enormous threat on healthcare?

Recent DHS (Department of Health and Human Services) underscores that security is solely viewed as an IT challenge. And IT Support teams are taking a limited focus on security to address technical challenges, NOT discuss and confront social aspects of security issues that open the door to numerous attacks and costs.

Why has healthcare struggled?

Culture of security is not in place— behavioral changes are hard, especially if your entire team is not in the loop about controls to ensure protected data is safe. Having an IT Support Team that engages your users to improve the ways they handle protected health information and helps your staff identify easier and more effective ways to manage their handling sensitive data makes a big impact on keeping compliant to security policies and ensuring data security.

Technical hurdles that shouldn’t be around—in the ideal world technology would never create headaches, but nevertheless, computer issues do occasionally arise. And when they arise, many users start resorting to their own fixes—Googling ways around a problem.

The issue with user-initiated fixes is that more than 9 out of 10 times, user fixes make your business less secure. These types of fixes aren’t using standard solutions, leading to inconsistencies in updates or downloading insecure software fixes that carry viruses. Ultimately when users can’t depend on or trust their IT team, they are less likely to engage with security policies or standards that they initiate.

Operating Systems are not being updated— legacy systems develop an approach to mitigate risks. When my team performs HIPAA security assessments for prospective clients, more often than not, one smoking gun is that they are not running supported operating systems, for example see our recent post on Windows Server 2008. And even more worrisome, when they are using supported systems, their IT Support is not keeping them updated with appropriate patching.

It is easy to complain and underscore issues your office has with its technology and data security. But what’s hard to do is evaluate a vulnerable network and create a roadmap directed to improving your systems for future attacks. Preventative maintenance that avoids having vulnerabilities. Engaged, trained and educated team members that can understand their role in healthcare IT security. A business with a humming network that would be the last target on a cyber criminal’s list.

Is your office a sitting target to cyberattacks? Are your staff adequately trained by certified security specialists? Is your network completely protected, monitored and maintained? Contact Us TODAY for a FREE HIPAA risk assessment!