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4 ways to ensure cybersecurity in hospitals

Being an industry so rich of valuable and sensitive data, its not a surprise that the healthcare sector is such a big target for IT hackers. This week,...

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|Feb 17|magazine8 min read

Being an industry so rich of valuable and sensitive data, it’s not a surprise that the healthcare sector is such a big target for IT hackers.

This week, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles has been operating without access to email or electronic health records (EHRs) after hackers took over its computer system. They’ve demanded $3.6 million in Bitcoin to return it.

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Viruses and malware that take over a server or computer and demand money to return it are called ransomware. This has become more prevalent in recent years, as hackers look to take advantage of more network devices, gadgets and servers.

Although the files include personal information and patients’ medical treatment history, the ultimate goal of this type of cyber attack isn’t necessarily isn’t to gain access to those files. Instead, it’s to ensure the hospital can’t get access to them either.

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While it’s unlikely the medical center will pay millions of dollars to regain its system and database, the hospital will suffer without a backup of its patient files and may be forced to start all over from the beginning.

Below are four ways to keep you medical center secure and prevent a healthcare data breach:

Realize the risk

The first step toward realizing the risk always starts with cybersecurity education throughout the entire company.

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Have a plan

Having a detailed approach of how to avoid a data breach should be a top priority for a healthcare provider, but it should also have a disaster recovery plan in place just in case to minimize the damage.

Identify most important data

Everyone involved much know what the most sensitive data is if they want to prevent it from being stolen. This can be financial or personal information, as well as lab results and other medical-based data.

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Properly protect sensitive data

Whether a document is digital or paper-based, the fastest and most efficient way to protect information is by marking it “confidential” or “internal only.” This provides employees with a visual reminder to treat it with care and be aware of hackers targeting it.

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