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VG Tuesday Tips: 4 Ways the Healthcare Sector Can Lock Down Data

  Virtual Graffiti

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There are two main reasons healthcare providers are currently placing more emphasis on IT and data security: big data and ransomware attacks. Over the past few years, the amount of data collected and stored by organizations in every industry is astronomical. Where healthcare differs is in the number of crucial discoveries that could come from the analysis of big data. If research is collected, stored, sorted and analysed properly, it can be incredibly valuable to healthcare advancements.

The second reason, ransomware, stems from a surge in these cyberattacks on the healthcare industry over the last few years. The sensitive nature of data collected by healthcare providers makes them the perfect target for hackers. According to a threat report from Cylance, in 2017, 34% of all ransomware attacks were carried out on organizations in the healthcare sector. The threat of cyberattacks is real for healthcare providers. That’s why implementing data security strategies is key to online safety. Here are a few things you can do to lock down your data as a healthcare provider:

  1. Adopt Two-Factor Authentication
  2. The most sensitive information requires more than just a username and password. Two-factor authentication adds another layer of security when it comes to accessing sensitive data. For added protection, you could implement swipe cards, facial recognition software, fingerprint identification, or security tokens. Whatever you choose, having that added level between your data and the hacker can keep wandering eyes out. Plus, it can also prevent staff from being able to share access with outsiders.

  3. Encrypt Everything
  4. It’s common for IT teams in healthcare organizations to focus on encrypting data in transit. Although this is definitely important, encrypting resting data is equally as essential. If a data leak does occur, hackers are likely to steal resting data. No matter how confident you are in your company’s data defenses, resting encryption should still be implemented. You never know what might happen.

  5. Educate Staff
  6. Members of staff who don’t know what to watch for simply won’t watch for it. If an employee has never heard of phishing scams, chances are they’ll click something malicious. Be sure to set up seminars to cover basics like;

    • how to identify malicious emails and links,
    • the importance of keeping up with the latest software updates and patches,
    • how to choose a secure password, and
    • training on federal and state-level sensitive data laws.

    It can also be helpful to send alerts to all staff about any known ransomware or phishing attacks on the rise they should look out for.

  7. Back Up Your Data
  8. The major problem with ransomware is its ability to withhold key patient data from those who need to access it for scheduled appointments, procedures, and emergencies. But, if that data is backed up to a reliable source, you’ve already won against your hacker. Be sure to devise a disaster recovery strategy that includes a variety of backup and replication technologies to cover off all your bases.

    At StorageCraft, we’re believers in the power of backups. Our disaster recovery cloud is purpose-built for total business continuity and can provide you with a reliable place to host backups. Contact us today to find out how we can help your company take care of its data, or request a free demo to see our products in action.