In this age, healthcare organisations should be aware of the data protection program to prevent potential threats to patient data. It is important to note how 2015 and 2016 became one of the most difficult years in data breaching in the healthcare industry.
The largest healthcare data breach that happened in 2015 exposed 113,267,174 compromised patient records. This led covered entities to report breaches than in any other year since the Office of Civil Rights began publishing breach summaries.
With this in mind, healthcare organisations should balance protecting patient privacy while ensuring quality patient care. This article will walk you through the different deployment scenarios to create the best security strategies for protecting healthcare data against cybersecurity threats.
Educate healthcare employees
The human element remains the biggest threat to security across many industries, including healthcare. Act of negligence or simple human error can lead to dangerous and expensive consequences for healthcare companies.
Employing security awareness training will help healthcare staff have sufficient knowledge when making decisions related to patient data. To fully integrate these practices, it is best to seek the help of SQL server database service providers to know the important practices in terms of securing patient data.
Another technique is to secure mobile devices among healthcare providers, such as physicians, nurses, and administrative workers. As mobile devices play an important role in doing business, employees need to be careful when accessing data using their phones. For example, physicians use a smartphone to obtain treatment information or an admin worker that processes insurance claims via mobile phones.
Having strong mobile device security ensures many services, such as managing devices, enforcing strong passwords, removing data remotely for lost devices, monitoring email accounts to prevent viruses or unauthorised access, and more.
Conducting regular risk assessments also helps in preventing cybersecurity threats. Although having an audit trail helps determine the valuable details of an incident, taking proactive prevention is still important. This way, the organisation can easily identify any weak points regarding security, employee education, the security posture of business associates, and other concerns.
By identifying potential risks in a healthcare organisation, it will prevent loss or exposure of patient data. At the same time, the healthcare staff and business associates will be informed of the damaging impacts of a data breach, such as reputation damage.
Restricting access to patient data
Enforcing data access controls strengthens healthcare data security by limiting the access to patient data and certain applications to authorised users. Access controls must require user authentication to allow these authorised users to access protected data.
Multi-factor authentication is a highly recommended approach that requires users to provide security details. Validation methods can vary from PIN, password, card or key, and bio metrics (i.e., eye scanning, fingerprints, and facial recognition).
Logging all usage and access to data is also important to enable the organisation to monitor the users who are accessing the resources, applications, and information. Monitoring of usage also includes the location, date of access, and type of device used.
These logs can prove valuable, especially for auditing purposes, strengthening security measures, and identifying areas of concern. So when an incident happens, the organisation can easily conduct an audit trail to identify entry points, recognise the cause, and assess damages.
Encryption is one of the most effective data protection strategies for healthcare organisations. Encrypting data at rest and in transit will make it difficult for potential attackers to access patient information despite having access to the data.
Although the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) provides suggestions in securing patient data, their recommendations do not require healthcare organisations to implement and enforce data encryption practices. Instead, the HIPAA leaves it up to healthcare organisations to identify what type of encryption methods are necessary for their workflow.
Healthcare organisations can use two essential points to identify the right level of encryption for their needs and when required. First, determine what type of data to encrypt and decrypt to prevent unauthorised access. Second, encryption and decryption methods are reasonable, appropriate, and necessary for the given context to mitigate unauthorised access to sensitive health information.
These strategies for healthcare data protection aim to prevent the ever-growing threat landscape, address threats to data and privacy, and protect all forms of healthcare information. Keep in mind that there are plenty of multi-faceted approaches to security. They can focus on particular aspects of protecting personal data. It all comes down to the immediate and proper integration of the best security practices to prevent and stop online attacks.