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Cybersecurity approaches to keep PHI safe

Healthcare organizations have always kept the possibility of data breaches in mind, especially since 2017 witnessed the biggest and most expensive data breach to date. To counter this, more businesses have hired certified technicians, but that’s not enough. They also need to implement the most advanced systems and protocols to reinforce their work, namely:

Routine Access Monitoring

To control access to protected health information (PHI), your IT department must introduce guidelines and restrictions. This guarantees that none of your employees are looking where they shouldn’t be and end up tempted financially. In fact, a Verizon report discovered that healthcare is the only sector where employees present the biggest cyberthreat, with 58% of events implicating insiders.

Healthcare execs must also have their staff undergo security training and enforce policies where they’re reprimanded if they try to access confidential patient data without a valid business-related reason.

Full-disk encryption

Full-disk encryption (FDE) is an inexpensive and quick method to secure private information. It even alleviates the effects of stolen physical assets by restricting reporting requirements and fines.

Even though this recommendation is old news to the healthcare sector, the recent shift to greater mobility should make this a priority more than ever, particularly because stolen or lost devices pose a massive security risk.

Let’s say a healthcare provider’s laptop got stolen. The thief could easily disclose all employee PHIs on the city’s health plan. Encrypted devices would never be subjected to such a scenario.

Resilient infrastructure

Your primary goal is to keep cyberthreats out, but reducing the effect on the network when a hacker has already infiltrated it is just as important. Since email and websites are the most common conduit for malware, you need to set up systems that will contain these threats.

You must not allow the infected device to spread the virus to more of your crucial assets, and don’t ever use devices with high-availability requirements to receive external email or to surf the web. In case such systems fail though, you’d also need to come up with a recovery plan so you can still take care of your patients despite a major incident.

Always remember that your patients already trust you with their life, so you must do everything you can to protect their privacy, too. If the above approaches sound way too technical for you, just give us a call and we’ll make sure these cybersecurity measures have your back.

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