There has been a sudden surge in the number of cyber-attacks on patient medical records currently. From the past decade, one or the other major healthcare corporation has constantly been in the news over issues on high-level data breaches. By recent studies, it seems that over 90% of healthcare companies of the country have been hacked in the last two years. As disturbing as this may seem, it is also a wake-up call for revamping age-old healthcare data security protocols.
Why Is Healthcare Data Vulnerable to Data Breach?
Current healthcare data thefts may be outrageous, but security of patient medical information has always been a concern. But why are hackers so indulgent towards healthcare records?
– Personal information (often accompanied with financial details) via detailed patient records are lucrative targets for cyber attackers.
– Most healthcare organizations lack strong data management, making their systems vulnerable to hacks.
– Data theft through open medical records is a widely popular practice amongst hackers. Advent of newer technologies in the market has galvanized the action in recent years.
The million-dollar question for healthcare providers is, for how long can they to ignore the need of a robust public relations apparatus? The threat is dire, real and imminent.
Data Management To-Dos for Combatting Healthcare Data Breaches
Healthcare data is sensitive information, most being submitted at the time of emergencies. Crisis for the patients makes data security primarily the responsibility of healthcare providers. Any prior indication of information breach must be communicated to concerned parties. Quick-response PR channels organize the fastest possible ways to keep patients in loop when such an incidence occurs. Apart from sharing information and providing timely reassurance, public relation solutions also include building a secure channel of communication, ensuring protection from data breaches right from the beginning. Start with the following points:
1. Creating a Cyber Crisis Plan and Implementing it – Coordinating the efforts of administrators, communication professionals, staff and spokespeople during crisis situations becomes so easy and efficient when there is a plan already at hand. Thinking forward to the time of peak crisis, the management should be prepared with a simple and brief plan to communicate with its patients and their family members, warning them of the ongoing siege. Automated system installations for informing authorities when needed should also be incorporated.
2. Scenario Sketches – With so much technology available at the hands of new-age hackers, it’s hard to anticipate any route that criminals can use to get access to the system. Today’s cyber criminals can launch and operate full-scale invasions from remote offshore locations. Clever ones can even dodge the isolation of singular IP addresses. But the good thing is that in most cases they use their host’s negligence to break into system mainframes. In-house drills like vigilance over existing security protocols, regular checks of portable data devices going and coming into the facility, training on web-based malware attacks etc. can prevent thefts even before they occur.
3. Study Cases – This can work in tandem with your scenario sketches. There are plenty of different examples and cases of data breach out there that you can study. Keep yourself abreast with the current data breach incidents – security protocols that worked, tactics which failed. Replicate the successes, remove the fallacies from your breach protection strategy.
When it comes to data theft, size of the company rarely matters. But due to their limited security options, the more-in-number small and middle scale healthcare organizations are at a graver risk of losing their prized data.
If you lack the required infrastructure to secure your virtual database, then appoint professionals. Specialized PR officers from Span Global Services are there to take care of all your data security threats. Call us at 877-837-4884 or mail your concerns at [email protected]. Don’t wait! Ignorance will get you nowhere.