5 Tips for Network Security in Healthcare
Cybercriminals often attack healthcare facilities of all sizes. The rise in intrusions in the health industry indicates that hackers are increasingly targeting smaller healthcare providers. Large healthcare businesses typically have the resources to create an effective security plan. They have the means to staff a security infrastructure, hire a chief information security officer, and invest in threat intelligence services.
Dentists, independent physicians, and small hospitals may not necessarily have the financial resources to invest in expensive cybersecurity measures. They are, however, just as vulnerable to cyber threats and provide cybercriminals with the same chance of success.
Many healthcare providers are unable or unwilling to pay excessive ransoms and are forced to close their doors as a result of these attacks. These specialists are well aware that paying a ransom demand in no way guarantees the hacker’s release of data or equipment. It also doesn’t guarantee that they won’t sell your patient’s information on the dark web.
Healthcare institutions are a primary target for the following reasons:
- In order to conduct insurance fraud, criminals can easily sell patient billing and medical information on the dark web.
- Ransom payments are expected to be profitable since ransomware has the ability to shut down back-office and patient care systems.
- Medical devices that are linked to the internet are vulnerable to hacking.
5 Tips for Network Security in Healthcare
These recommendations are based on the Health Insurance Portability and Accessibility Act (HIPAA). The security controls, methods, and procedures defined in the HIPAA regulations must be implemented by all healthcare organizations that have access to protected health information (PHI).
1. Installing a firewall
Organizations that want to protect themselves from malicious cyber activity should install firewalls as one of their first lines of protection. A firewall’s responsibility is to examine each and every message that is sent into the system from either the Internet or the local network and select which communications should be permitted to enter. It establishes a wall of protection between your machine and the hackers on the internet.
- You may prevent the malware from entering your small healthcare practice’s systems by setting up internal firewalls.
- Even if they are working from home, your workers still need to remember to connect the firewall to their system so that they are protected from any threats.
- If your EHR (electronic health record) system is linked to the Internet, installing a firewall is absolutely necessary since it will protect the system from any dangers and intrusions coming from the outside.
- A firewall may be implemented either as a physical piece of equipment or as computer software.
Some operating systems come with their software firewalls already set, and this configuration begins safeguarding the machine during the installation phase. In addition, practices have the option of purchasing independent firewall software from the market. In the event that a hardware firewall is used, healthcare businesses are need to make use of subject matter specialists since the hardware must be setup, maintained, and monitored, all of which are tasks that can only be performed more effectively by professionals.
2. Regulate Network Access
The usage of modern networking tools and technologies such as instant messaging and peer-to-peer file sharing is widespread and popular in today’s work environment. Even with broadband connections, workplaces use wireless routing, which simplifies networking but is vulnerable to illegal access.
The usage of these technologies poses a concern to the security of sensitive healthcare information, particularly in healthcare settings, since the tools may allow unauthorized access to the network of a healthcare practice.
Even small practices use wireless routers for Internet access, which may be shared by several PCs on the same network. However, when doing so, practices must guarantee that their wireless router is safe; otherwise, the signal might be picked up by an unauthorized party, posing a risk to the shared and accessible data.
Therefore, only authorized users must have network access. In addition, wireless routers should be secured using the appropriate encryption codes.
3. Educate Staff on Security Procedures
In a small clinical setting, it is common to see medical personnel or professionals doing duties outside of their job descriptions. Employees may need to be fully taught and made aware of security standards and best practices for tasks such as updating crucial medical papers or managing electronic patient data.
Employers in the healthcare industry must train their workers on the precautions they must take to thwart any security attack aimed at digital data. Periodically, rules should be updated, and staff should be instructed on adjusting security settings to ensure compliance.
Employees should be instructed on how to manage security problems and avoid data loss, including installing anti-virus software, using a safe password, not sharing data, and carefully adhering to security conventions.
4. Data Masking
Using masking, sensitive data components are replaced with an unintelligible value. It is impossible to reconstruct the original value from the masked value since this is not a genuine encryption mechanism. It uses a method known as de-identification, which includes masking or suppressing personal identifiers such as names and social security numbers and extrapolating or suppressing semi-identifiers such as date of birth and zip codes. Therefore, data masking is one of the most used strategies for live data protection. Adding noise to the data, swapping cells across columns, and replacing groups of x records with y duplicates of a single sample are further methods for protecting privacy. The lower cost of safeguarding a deployment of large data is a significant advantage of this technique.
Masking reduces the need to put additional security controls on the data while it is kept on the platform and while it is being transported from a routed source to the platform.
5. Backups & Recovery
The creation of backups should be a standard practice for all firms. However, small practices only contemplate backups in the event of a system failure or a data loss disaster, which is useless since the harm has already been done. Therefore, as soon as the EHR system is deployed in your clinic, small healthcare organizations must begin consistently backing up the information.
Everything, including databases, human resource files, payable accounts, electronic spreadsheets, processing papers, and financial records, should be backed up so that it may be recovered promptly if necessary.
Businesses must routinely examine their backup data to see how easily it can recover all data. Regardless of the location of the data backup, it must be kept secure.
Cloud computing is one of the greatest solutions for backup storage since it needs no technical skills and a substantial investment. However, organizations must pick cloud backups with care to preserve the integrity of the original material.
Enhancing cybersecurity within the healthcare business is one of the key goals for 2022. EY found that 81% of companies were required to violate cybersecurity safeguards in order to do business.
Outsourcing cybersecurity services and using contemporary protection and monitoring technology can help ensure that your healthcare security strategy is sound and that your customers’ data is safe, while allowing your own people to concentrate on other business matters.
Our team at Caplock Security consists of security experts with years of expertise in a range of cybersecurity disciplines. Several of our clients have already used our services to enhance their security standards, meet regulatory requirements, and reduce risk. Our expertise can help you in identifying security flaws and provide guidance on how to properly address them.