The second half of 2020 saw a massive increase in healthcare data breaches. Nearly 21.3 million records were breached, 177% higher than the number of violations in the first half of the year. These numbers are already alarming for the healthcare industry, and the situation is getting worse with each passing day. Amidst the changing digital landscape post-pandemic, cybersecurity in healthcare has become more critical with the increasing adoption of digital measures across the customer lifecycle.
Here are seven reasons why cybersecurity in healthcare needs to be our focus right now.
Patient data is at risk
The 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack was responsible for locking down computers in 150 countries with more than 350,000 victims. The healthcare industry was one of their prime targets. Many hospitals reported that it led to ambulances being diverted and surgeries being canceled.
Despite this major attack and enough security protocols in place, the industry became more vulnerable with time. According to TrendMicro, over 84% of US businesses experienced a ransomware attack in 2021. With these constant attacks, patient health information is always at risk. Losing access to these medical records can have dire consequences.
Cybercriminals can steal patient identities and commit health insurance fraud depending on the records breached. Hackers can also intentionally alter patient data, leading to medical malpractice, misdiagnoses, and incorrect drug prescriptions. They can even release private medical information online or use it in phishing attacks.
Lack of resources and funding
Most healthcare organizations do not have enough resources to invest in cybersecurity. Healthcare organizations are often overwhelmed by the lack of security expertise, increased cyber risk, and low IT skills among current employees. Resultantly, they struggle to implement proper cybersecurity measures to safeguard against growing threats. Further, a lack of security education and awareness results in employees ignoring security protocols, thus opening the door for cyberattacks.
Many healthcare organizations often struggle with proper funding for cybersecurity in healthcare. This negligent spending on cybersecurity measures increases the risk of security breaches, allowing hackers to steal health records and patient data.
Introduction of telemedicine
Doctors are expanding their practices to include telemedicine, which allows them to diagnose and treat patients over the internet. However, this also means that vital patient data is at risk of being compromised by hackers. The rise of telemedicine is problematic because these devices contain highly-sensitive information that needs to be protected.
Low-quality medical devices
The market for medical devices is ripe with opportunities for hackers. They target these devices because they often contain poor security standards, making them extremely easy to infiltrate. Additionally, these devices may have issues with outdated operating systems or databases that contain vulnerabilities.
Rise of remote work
Post the COVID-19 pandemic, many healthcare officials began working remotely from various locations. Remote work was beneficial from both cost and operations perspectives as there has always been a limit on the number of people allowed in a closed space.
Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare personnel used mobile devices to connect with patients who lived in different geographic locations. Since their personal devices were not equipped with proper security protocols, vital data was at a greater risk of being compromised.
Additionally, there was not enough support for healthcare officials working in a remote setting. It reduced the number of physical defenses available to them, thus making them even more accessible as a potential target.
Cybersecurity in healthcare – Preparing for a brighter future
Without proper cybersecurity measures, the healthcare industry is at risk of falling victim to cyberattacks. First Credit Services recognizes the need for helping healthcare clients with industry best practices for all of their services. As a BPO company, we put special emphasis on data security and privacy, ensuring that your personal information is handled with the utmost care. Our security protocols ensure that your healthcare data is protected at all times, whether it is being accessed or stored.
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