The healthcare industry thrives on information. Patient health records (PHI), payment files, and personal details pass through the servers of hospitals, healthcare providers, and insurance companies around the clock. However, doctors and industry specialists aren't the only ones eager to get their hands on this type of information. Hackers are always looking to steal sensitive information that can be used for fraud. The consequences of a data breach at a healthcare institution can range from lawsuits, to huge financial fines, to damaged reputations. Is the healthcare industry ready for the epidemic of security breaches that will only get worse as time goes on? Discover what organizations can do to vaccinate their networks against cyber-attacks.
Diagnosing the Digital Security Issue in the Healthcare World
The truth is that most networks at healthcare institutions are in need of some emergency care. It is a challenge for IT teams and security officers to keep up with the sophisticated tactics of today's global cyber criminals. This is troubling when you consider the sensitive nature of the information that is handled by healthcare institutions, especially PHI. Patients of all ages are at risk for having their personal information stolen, sold on the black market or used for exploitation. Healthcare hacking has become something of an epidemic in recent years. Some estimates even show that one in three Americans are victims of compromised medical records. This isn't that surprising when you consider that a healthcare giant like BlueCross BlueShield was the victim of a hack that exposed the records of more than 10 million people alone. The bottom line is that both big players and small players in the healthcare industry simply haven't been doing enough to stay ahead of threats.
Risks Must Be Fought With Care
It is essential for healthcare companies to analyze their networks and procedures on a routine basis. The first line of defense is an enterprise's staff. Employees need to be educated on strong passwords, smart email policies, and web security best practices. Of course, an empowered staff is also fortified by good security technology and protocols. An IT security team should make routine network assessments part of a comprehensive plan for keeping information secure. An initial assessment needs to be extremely thorough. In fact, many enterprises around the world are turning to a network penetrating testing firm to help them get a clear picture of how vulnerable their networks are, along with their HIPAA Security Risk Assessment. Hiring a firm to conduct a penetration test is essentially like bringing in a team of white-hat hackers to demonstrate what true hackers would do if they were attempting to breach a network in a coordinated and controlled manner. Unlike automated security measures, this test takes a real world approach using a combination of technology and human ingenuity. A team of security engineers attempts to identify and exploit every potential weak point that exists in the client network. The client is then left with a detailed and accurate analysis of how a network performs when it is under attack. This report can help IT professionals to address weak points and create extremely resilient networks. Of course, the solution doesn't end there. There is no question that hackers are always enhancing their tactics. A penetration test should always be followed up with routine analysis and testing.