Recently, cyber-attacks have been expanding beyond the typical IT infrastructure and into sectors like retail, education, and healthcare. The Office of Civil Rights recently posted information around data breaches that have hit nearly 550 in total over the last two years, affecting health information at hospitals, cancer centers, hospice care centers, and group practices.

What’s more stirring is the rate at which these cyber-attacks are occurring and the lack of cybersecurity training at healthcare facilities in the country. Having awareness around cyber-attacks and data sensitivity should be built into the foundation of healthcare operations today, especially as the industry continues to dive deeper into digital dependency.

Effective Training and Awareness

Cybersecurity requires proactive and effective efforts including a multilateral strategy. When it comes to healthcare, this can be difficult. Healthcare facilities and operations need to make sure they install network monitoring systems that are able to identify gateway and connected devices. These healthcare companies need to make sure to audit and patch up known vulnerabilities while also defining security groupings.

However, even with these things in place, without the basic level of awareness around cybersecurity training, healthcare facilities can still find themselves vulnerable to attacks. Cybersecurity requires a strong educational effort from the staff that makes the healthcare facility run. Healthcare is the only industry that has more threats in cybersecurity and holes coming from the inside than threats coming from the outside, especially when it comes to staff misconduct or data hygiene practices. And while most of the misconduct is unintentional, such as simple mistakes that may be overlooked, they can add up over time and leave a facility exposed.

Hospitals must make sure to implement better cyber awareness and basic security training across the entire organization. Leaders in hospitals should ensure that staff knows how to keep an eye on threats and vulnerabilities and what to do when they discover them. Additionally, staff training needs to cover basic cybersecurity protection like password management, not clicking on suspicious emails, and restricting some sites.

Insuring the Future of the Industry

Healthcare organizations oversee an abundance of sensitive and important information. However, there haven’t been major steps taken to protect that data and grow awareness around the fiduciary responsibility. A digital breach of any kind and any size can present major setbacks that can unravel into further vulnerabilities and claims from patients and customers.

Healthcare organizations need to understand the importance of healthcare cybersecurity and the different ways to protect it, like with insurance options. Having healthcare cybersecurity insurance will help organizations to be protected against the major potential fallout from a threat and breach, but it can’t make up for lack of awareness and preventative measures that should be implemented from the start.

In order to be effective, cybersecurity has to be a shared responsibility for everyone, not just IT professionals or organization leaders. Doctors, nurses, and assistants don’t have to be cybersecurity experts, but it’s important to have cyber awareness.

About Highland Risk Services

At Highland Risk, we use our expertise and experience to provide insurance information and programs to those who serve long-term care and senior living facilities. Since 2007, we’ve been offering insurance and risk management plans designed to help our agents give their clients the ability to achieve continued growth while simultaneously protecting against loss, containing costs and increasing profitability. With offices to serve you in Chicago, Illinois and Phoenix, Arizona, we do everything we can to make your experience with us as professional and transparent as possible. To learn more, contact us at (877) 890-9301.