In today’s ever-changing digital landscape, IT and security have become an important aspect of nearly every industry. One area where the significance of IT cannot be ignored is the healthcare industry. With the increasing adaptation of innovative technology and the digitization of records, the healthcare industry faces many new challenges and risks. In this blog, we explore why healthcare IT security should be top of mind for stakeholders, patients, healthcare providers and policymakers.
Let’s explore some areas of importance for cybersecurity in the healthcare industry that could benefit from extra protection.
Sensitive Patient Data
The healthcare industry handles a large variety of sensitive patient data, including medical records, personal information and pertinent insurance details. Protecting this data is imperative and helps your business avoid unauthorized access, breaches and cyber threats, which could aid in identity theft or fraud. On average, a single data breach can cost $10M. Data breaches can compromise patient trust, damage the reputation of healthcare organizations and even lead to legal repercussions. A robust IT system and strong security measures are vital to safeguard patient data and help maintain the integrity and confidentiality of information.
Mitigating Cybersecurity Threats
Cybersecurity threats constantly pose a risk to the healthcare industry. Cybercriminals are constantly devising new ways to exploit vulnerabilities in IT systems and gain unauthorized access to sensitive data. The consequences of a successful cyberattack could be devastating. It could lead to disrupted operations, compromised patient care and result in legal ramifications or costs. To prevent these attacks, healthcare organizations need to invest in robust healthcare IT security measures like firewalls, data encryption, intrusion detection and employee cybersecurity training to help detect, prevent and mitigate threats effectively.
Regulatory Compliance and Legal Obligations
The healthcare industry operates under a complex web of regulatory frameworks and legal compliance standards. Some common compliance regulations that need to be followed by healthcare organizations are the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Both of these standards are mandatory to protect patient rights and privacy. When organizations become non-compliant with these regulations, it can lead to severe penalties and reputational damage. IT security practices must align to these standards. Some common practices you can take part in are:
- Secure data storage
- Access controls
- Audit logs
- Regular risk assessments
The healthcare industry is rapidly adopting new technology to help streamline how it operates. Some common examples are cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT). While these technologies offer healthcare workers immense benefits, they also introduce new risks and vulnerabilities. For example, IoT devices used in healthcare like connected medical devices and wearables can be a potential entry point for a cyberattack. Healthcare organizations must stay vigilant, conduct thorough security assessments, implement appropriate safeguards to mitigate these risks or partner with an expert who can help achieve this.
How We Can Help
In an era of increased technology resilience, you need to count on an IT partner that you can trust to ramp up your healthcare IT security. Protecting sensitive patient data, mitigating cybersecurity threats, complying with regulatory requirements and addressing emerging technology risks is paramount for the well-being of healthcare organizations.
Here at Sixwatch, we can help assess your IT infrastructure to ensure your data is protected and away from prying eyes. Together, we can build a resilient and trusted healthcare system that can benefit all. Let’s get started—contact us today to learn more.