Cybersecurity Incident Response Guide For Healthcare Organizations
Importance of an Incident Response Plan
The HIPAA Security Rule is quite specific in stating that a security incident response plan is a crucial part of HIPAA compliance for firms in the healthcare sector.
In order to comply with the Security Incident Procedures standard, HIPAA mandates that covered companies create an incident response strategy. Among other administrative precautions, covered entities are required to create data backup, disaster recovery, and emergency state operation plans.
The healthcare industry is particularly at risk since companies must act rapidly to address cybersecurity breaches without sacrificing the delivery of high-quality patient care. Therefore, it may be challenging to quickly contain and address cyber threats.
Appropriate Preparation is Key
Despite being mandatory, not all incident response plans are created equal, and having a plan in writing may not translate into an effective plan of action whenever a security incident occurs. Healthcare organizations should develop an incident response strategy that is tailored to the requirements of their particular organization.
A thorough incident response strategy is worthwhile to develop and maintain in consideration of the reputational damage, disruptions to patient care, and astronomical expenses that can come from a healthcare data breach.
The 6 Stages of an Incident Response Plan
Making an incident response strategy should be your first priority if you don’t currently have one. The six phases of an incident response plan are listed below.
In your incident response planning, preparation is frequently the step that requires the most work, but it’s also the one that will significantly defend your business. The following actions are a part of this phase:
- Ensuring your staff is properly trained on their incident response duties and obligations. Conducting security awareness training programs until proficiency is reached, these should be high level and focused on specific areas such as DDoS, Malware, Insider Threat, Unauthorized access, and Phishing.
- To assess your incident response strategy, create and routinely do tabletop exercises (i.e., incident response drill scenarios).
- Ascertain that all components of your incident response plan, such as training, hardware, and software resources, have been authorized and are adequately financed in advance.
The process of identification (or detection), which looks for deviations from routine operations and activities, establishes if you have truly been penetrated. Organizations should have procedures in place for determining what constitutes a security event and what does not, where the issue is in its lifecycle when it is found, and how to tell if suspicious activity is malicious.
Only once you are aware of the extent and scale of an occurrence can you properly eliminate a security threat. Start with the first compromised device, or “patient zero”. Understanding the source of the hack is the objective, but rather than concentrating on a single device, may the danger have expanded and migrated laterally? Questions like these demand timely answers.
An organization often learns about a breach in one of the following ways:
- Internal investigation uncovers the compromise (e.g., review of intrusion detection system logs, alerting systems, system anomalies, or anti-virus scan malware alerts)
- In the course of looking into the sale of patient health information, law enforcement learns of the breach.
It is logical that a healthcare institution would wish to address problems right away after learning of a potential breach. However, if you do not follow the required procedures and include the appropriate parties, there is a large risk of accidentally erasing important forensic data. These details are used by forensic investigators to establish the circumstances around the breach, as well as to plan for future countermeasures.
When you find a breach, remember these rules :
- Stay calm
- Avoid rash decisions
- Avoid erasing and reinstalling your systems (yet)
- To assist you in containing the breach, speak with your forensic investigator
The threat can be eliminated if the situation has been satisfactorily contained. Depending on what led to a device being hacked, this will change. In the eradication phase of an event, actions such as patching devices, eliminating malware, and removing compromised accounts may all be necessary.
Updates should be installed, systems should once again be hardened and patched, and malware should be safely removed. Make sure eradication efforts are comprehensive, whether you carry them out on your own or with a third party’s assistance.
The process of restoring and reintroducing damaged systems and devices into your environment is known as “Recovering From a Data Breach.” It’s crucial to restart your organizational processes and systems at this point so that your network can survive the next cyberattack.
Before you reintroduce the previously affected systems into your production environment, make sure all systems have been checked once the breach’s root cause has been found and eliminated.
After the forensic investigation, have a meeting with every member of the incident response team to go over what you’ve learned from the data breach and to discuss what happened so you can prepare for the next attack. This is the time to examine every aspect of the breach. Determine what succeeded and failed in your incident response strategy, then make necessary revisions.
Benefits of an Incident Response Plan
You may respond to the danger with ease and confidence if you have a cybersecurity incident response plan with clear post-event instructions, responsibility assignments, and incident response management principles.
When a security incident happens, it may have an immediate negative impact on businesses in terms of operational interruption, financial losses, legal repercussions, and reputational harm. An incident response plan enables the security team to take immediate and appropriate mitigation and remediation actions, minimizing the impact of the event on your company, by swiftly understanding the nature of an attack, where and how it happened, and what is at risk.
- Following an event, it is likely that the company will lose the faith of its customers and the reputation of its brand if it does not swiftly communicate with those engaged in the business. During the extraordinary crisis, having a solid cyber security incident response strategy can help you connect with consumers and stakeholders quickly and efficiently.
The volume and sophistication of cyber events continue to increase quickly, so planning for the foreseeable dangers requires more than just being ready to react. It requires having the capacity to react quickly and fully recover.
It is possible that a data breach may be the most stressful circumstance that healthcare companies face, but it doesn’t have to spell the end for the organization . By adhering to their incident response plan, they’ll be equipped to deflect patient data theft attacks and promptly resume operations.
Caplock Security offers a variety of solutions that help healthcare providers and other organizations achieve compliance with HIPAA and other regulations. Bring the best out of your organization by relying on our cybersecurity professionals for tasks such as:
- Identifying unknown flaws or vulnerabilities that can result in a breach or disclosure.
- Validating, understanding, and preparing for known risks to your organization.
- Updating and maintaining regulatory or compliance controls.
- Providing clear, action-oriented recommendations designed to provide time-to-value in improving your security posture.
Prevention is superior to cure. Avoid the costly mistake of neglecting your organization’s cybersecurity aspect. Caplock Security gives you all the tools you need to streamline your security deployment without sacrificing performance, allowing for a unified strategy for efficient operations and getting you ready to scale for corporate expansion.