The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way healthcare professionals work and it has also changed the way organizations deliver healthcare. Not only are more healthcare personnel working remotely, but they’re also treating patients who are consuming healthcare services remotely instead of walking in.
Certainly, there are many advantages to this. The reduced physical proximity mitigates the risk of infectious disease transmission, leaving patients and healthcare providers healthier. In addition, it allows patients with mobility or transportation challenges to consume healthcare services more conveniently.
However, remote work has raised the volume of cyber attacks on all industries, including healthcare. Hackers are hitting hospitals, clinics, charities, and even medical manufacturers with different types of cyber attacks:
- Data Theft: Stolen Data can be used to fuel blackmail, Dark Web sales, identity theft, or further attacks.
- Ransomware Attacks: Hijacked data and hospital computers held for ransom can put lives at risk.
- Doxxing: As sentiment against vaccinations rises from a vocal minority, hackers harass healthcare workers by doxxing them.
How Can Healthcare Organizations Secure Themselves in the Digital Age?
#1 Use Secure Software
Modern healthcare organizations must use the right software to protect data management. For example, many organizations use secure software for health and social care to deliver personalized care, streamline service delivery, and accelerate their impact. Such software should offer secure data management tools that are PIPEDA and HIPAA compliant to protect sensitive patient health information.
#2 Phishing Attack Training
Phishing is the primary way hackers target remote workers. Phishing emails and messages try to trick busy professionals into opening harmful links that may install malicious software such as viruses, Trojans, spyware, or ransomware on a computer.
Phishing emails were easy to spot, thanks to grammatical mistakes and other obvious signs. But hackers are using more compelling ways to deceive their targets. For example, hackers may engineer phishing emails to appear legitimate by studying a target’s social media account. A convincing phishing email to a healthcare administrator may appear to be from a colleague or manager.
Healthcare workers need professional training in spotting such attacks to avoid sharing sensitive data or installing malware.
#3 Enhance System Security
Healthcare organizations must enhance system security with the following steps:
- Use proactive anti-malware software that shields systems from the latest threats.
- Install endpoint threat management tools that protect desktops, laptops, servers, and mobile devices.
- Regularly update software to access the latest security patches.
- Utilize security tools like firewalls and VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) that shield networks and encrypt data.
- Close security loopholes in websites, networks, etc., to reduce exploits.
#4 Cloud Migration
To mitigate the risk of operational downtime from hacks and ransomware strikes, healthcare organizations should consider migrating to the cloud with professional assistance. Cloud-based data can be less vulnerable to hackers, especially when managed by a team that specializes in data security.
These are four steps healthcare organizations must take to protect data from threat actors in the modern age. With the right precautions, healthcare organizations can protect employees, patients, and their critical services.
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