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How to Protect Your Hospital Network From Cybercriminals

By November 5, 2021No Comments10 min read
Protect Your Hospital Network From Cybercriminals

Everyone knows that cybersecurity is a risk factor for the healthcare business. Every year healthcare industry loses more than $6 billion due to data breaches. According to a report from The Breach Barometer, at least one health data breach happened every day after 2016. These cyber-attacks are becoming more complex with time. Normal healthcare networks can’t deal with these attacks.

It is also becoming difficult to detect these attacks. Organizations take months to detect a data breach. Healthcare organizations are looking for ways to protect their patient data from these attacks. Thus, the demand for IT security professionals is increasing. In this article, we are going to share some tips which will help you in protecting your hospital from cyber attacks.

Cybersecurity challenges in the health care industry 

Hospitals think that the newest cyber vulnerabilities are the biggest threat for them. However, most attackers are not using new vulnerabilities. According to a report from Verizon, most attackers are using the easiest route to get access to healthcare data. There are many common threats that you need to deal with:

  • Malware and ransomware: Attackers will generally use ransomware to shut down servers and devices. This malware can shut down your entire network. Attackers will generally ask for a ransom for decrypting your data.
  • Phishing attacks: Attackers will send fake emails to your employees. If your employees don’t know about fake phishing emails, then they might give access to their systems to attackers. This is the most common form of attack.
  • Cloud threads: Most organizations are storing their data in the cloud. If your cloud provider is not using proper encryption, then your data will be at risk.
  • Misleading websites: Attackers will create sites that are similar to reputable sites. They will even use the .gov domain for making them look genuine. Your employees will think that they are logging into their accounts. However, they will give their password to attackers.
  • Human errors: Employees are probably the weakest link in your cyber security strategy. They will use unencrypted devices or weak passwords. Thus, attackers can easily attack their devices.
  • Encryption blind spots: Encryption is important for protecting your data. However, sometimes it can create blind spots in your network. Attackers can hide their tools to detect data breaches.

Medical devices are also getting connected to the internet. The rise of IoT devices is good for everyone. However, you should ensure that these IoT devices are secure.

How to improve cybersecurity?

Data breaches can have a huge financial impact on your organization. It will lead to huge penalties and fines. Thus, it is important to ensure that your medical organization is always secure. You can follow the below practices for improving your cybersecurity:

  1. Create a security culture

This is the most important strategy. If you want to improve your cyber security, then you should start by establishing a security culture. It is very difficult to raise people’s awareness about vulnerabilities and threats that can cause a data breach. Ongoing training and education is the only way to fix this problem.

You should ensure that you are providing ongoing IT security training for your employees. Your employees can learn from online courses. You can provide them with a quiz and other material to make sure that they are learning the best IT security practices. Thus, it is important to ensure that you are giving ongoing education and training to your employees.

  1. Protect mobile devices

The good thing about Electronic health records (EHRs) is that you can access them on any device. You don’t need to worry about opening your desktop for checking EHRs. Thus, your employees will generally phones and tablets for accessing your EHRs.

These devices are more vulnerable to unauthorized access and theft. Desktops will generally receive security updates from vendors. Thus, desktops are more secure when compared to mobile devices.

You can use a mobile device management policy for dealing with this problem. Make sure that anti-virus is installed on every employee device. This will ensure that their device is at least protected from viruses and malware. You can also use MDM tools for securing your endpoints.

  1. Control access to sensitive data

News about patients’ private information getting stolen is very common. This data is protected by the HIPAA act. If you are not protecting your patient data, then the results will be disastrous for your business. Hackers can use your patient details for committing identity theft. They can transfer funds from their bank accounts. Also, they can sell this data on the dark web. Thus, it is very important to protect your patient data.

Your security team should control access to your patient records. They should ensure that only authorized people can access the records. Regular system audits will help you in verifying the people that have accessed your patient records. Make sure that you are removing the access of the employees who have left your organization. Sometimes your ex-employees can cause problems for your organization. There are various EHR applications available in the market that can simplify the entire access control process.

  1. Don’t repeat passwords

If you are using the same passwords on all platforms, then anyone can get access to your records. Most employees use simple passwords for accessing their data. They don’t want to type long passwords for accessing records. However, this is a very big mistake.

It is tempting to set up the same password for checking your email, online store, and accessing your patient records. However, this can lead to security issues in the future. If attackers get access to your Facebook password, then they can use it for accessing your patient records. Thus, it is very important to ensure that you are using unique passwords for accessing your patient records.

Attackers can cause a lot of damage to your organization if they get access to your systems. You can force your employees to generate new passwords after some regular interval of time. However, your employees will also run out of unique passwords. Thus, you should consider using a password manager tool.

There are various password manager tools available in the market. These tools will help your employees in generating unique and secure passwords. Your employees don’t need to worry about remembering complex passwords.

  1. Store your passwords in a safe place

Make sure that your team is never including your passwords in a shared email or document. Your IT team should look for proven password-storing systems. Most employees break the password security protocols because they can’t remember complex passwords.

Your employees shouldn’t write their passwords on a sticky note. It is better to ensure that your employees are using some phrase for deriving their password. This will ensure that they can easily remember the passwords.

  1. Perform regular risk assessment

It is important to detect vulnerabilities in your network. This is the only way to fix it. Thus, you should perform regular risk assessments. These assessments will help you in finding vulnerabilities in your network. Your own IT team can perform these risk assessments. However, it is better if you hire someone from outside. This will ensure that the report will be unbiased.

  1. Build a layered defense system

You should focus on maintaining a layered defense system. This will ensure that attackers won’t get access to your data even if they break the first layer. They need to break multiple layers for accessing your data. This will give enough time to your IT security team for stopping the attack.

There are multiple defense systems that you can use together. Don’t just focus on using strong passwords. You should always ask your employees to use strong passwords. However, you can’t protect your entire network by just using strong passwords.

You should also use physical security for protecting your systems. Make sure that you are using locked doors, surveillance equipment, and security guards. You should also use antivirus software and a firewall for protecting your network. Your employees should have access to some approved applications. These applications should contribute to the security of your network.

  1. Use better software

You should install better software in your systems. Make sure that you are using software that gives priority to cyber security. Good vendors will update their software regularly. They will make sure that their users are protected from the latest vulnerabilities. Thus, you don’t need to worry about dealing with the latest vulnerabilities.

You should also consider investing in the next-generation firewall. A next-generation firewall can help you in protecting all your systems and data. You should also deploy the best anti-malware detection tools. Robust encryption is another important thing.

It is difficult to do all these things by yourself. Thus, you should consider outsourcing some of your IT security needs. Experienced MSSPs like Bleuwire can help you in protecting your hospital network from attackers. They will help you in implementing the latest security tools for protecting your data. Thus, you don’t need to worry about the latest vulnerabilities.

  1. Create a plan to prevent and recover from security breaches

You should try to prevent data breaches. However, it is almost impossible to create a fully secure network. Thus, you should always be ready for a data breach. In case of a data breach, your team should have a plan for dealing with it. If you have a plan in place, then your team can quickly mitigate the attack. This will help you in reducing the damage of security breaches.

Your IT team should regularly check your security plan. This will ensure that you are following the latest security protocols. You should also check the software updates before installing them. Your IT team can first install the updates in a test compute for ensuring that it is safe. This is one of the best ways to test new updates.

Key members of your IT security should develop a plan for recovering your systems in case of a data breach. They should know about all the endpoints in your network. Your data backup should always stay secure. Try to store your data backup in multiple places. You should also segment your network for reducing the impact of the attack. Cloud-based backup is another thing that you can use. This will ensure that your data backup will stay safe. Thus, you can quickly recover your data and systems.

  1. Train your staff

The weakest cyber security link in your organization is your employees. You should ensure that your staff knows about all the proper measures. They should also understand the importance of these measures. Make sure that they are following the security measures. This will boost the security of your entire organization.

You can work with consultants for solving this problem. The consultant will first check the knowledge level of your staff. They will provide training to your employees for ensuring that everyone knows about basic security protocols. They can also conduct some tests for checking your employee’s knowledge.

This will ensure that your employees won’t fall for obvious attacks like phishing and social engineering attacks. Most attackers are still using phishing attacks for targeting organizations. It is very difficult to find a vulnerability in the network. Your vendors are probably using the best security practices for securing your systems. Thus, attackers will generally go for your employees. You should start by giving proper training to your staff. After that, you should start worrying about other points.

Conclusion

These are some practices that can help you in protecting your hospital network. Cyber security is very important for hospitals as they have access to confidential data. Thus, you should take this very seriously. Most healthcare organizations don’t have access to a large IT team. Thus, they should consider working with a good MSP. Experienced MSPs like Bleuwire can help you in solving this problem. They have access to a large IT security team. Thus, they can help you in implementing the best security practices. They will also help you in training your staff. You don’t need to worry about hiring another consultant for training your employees. If you need more information regarding IT security services, then you can contact Bleuwire.

Contact us today to learn about Bleuwire™  services and solutions in how we can help your business.

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