3 Cybersecurity Tips to Protect Patient Data

Security professionals in the healthcare industry know better than most what it’s like to constantly have a target on their back. In the past five years, healthcare data breaches have increased exponentially in size and frequency. We’ve all seen the devastating impact a major breach can have. From large fines to medical identity theft, healthcare breaches affect both organizations & individuals.

The grim reality is that cyber attacks will only continue to increase in frequency and severity and as we continue to navigate these uncertain times, the stakes are higher than ever before. In recent weeks, we’ve seen attacks on COVID vaccine facilities and we learned of the first death related to a ransomware attack. The writing is on the wall - we must take these threats seriously.

A speaker at a recent cybersecurity conference said it best when he warned that "we're entering a time where cybersecurity is no longer about data security... it is about life security."

These words, while harrowing, couldn’t be more true when it comes to the healthcare industry, yet most organizations in the industry still lag behind in terms of their defense measures to safeguard against these attacks. This is understandable. Between implementing stricter health and safety measures, securing a larger remote workforce, and facing a higher number of attacks, healthcare security professionals have a lot on their plate.

We’ve outlined 3 tips to start your journey to improving your organization’s security posture and ultimately protecting patient data.

1. Enforce “Access Zones”

It’s time for healthcare organizations to ditch outdated password practices and shift to a least privileged access model by enforcing access zones. This practice will only grant privileged users access to sensitive systems and require multi-factor authentication (MFA) to gain access outside of a designated zone. By limiting access to specified locations, healthcare organizations can curb opportunities for outside threat actors.

2. Strengthen Privileged Access

Limiting privileged user access to only resources required to do their job and nothing more is the first step to enhancing privileged access. Organizations can implement access request workflows for those special occasions when additional access is necessary. Just be sure to beef up your MFA while you’re at it with a more secure form of authentication, such as biometrics.

3. Embrace Cybersecurity Interoperability

Healthcare organizations are constantly adding new technologies to their network environment. While these additions help streamline operations and improve patient care, they also expose them to more cyber threats such as data breaches or ransomware. Go one step further with your interoperability and ensure secure and functional integrations between cybersecurity and operational tools. Integrations should be continuously monitored and maintained. Consider implementing an integration platform that specializes in cybersecurity if you don’t have the resources to maintain the integrations yourself.

To learn more about how SOFTwarfare helps healthcare organizations defend their assets from cyber attack, please visit: https://www.softwarfare.com/healthcare.