Increasingly, we hear about healthcare organizations that have fallen victim to a cyberattack. An attack dubbed WannaCry was among the first to produce headlines. Then came Defray, Lucky, and Philadelphia.
The cyberattacks have prompted the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to reveal that two large systems were facing operational challenges due to the attacks. The threats to security are real and the consequences can be heavy, which is why being proactive is essential.
The bombardment of cyberattacks doesn’t pair well with the goal of hospitals, which is to provide top-notch patient care. Unfortunately, many hospitals underestimate the impact that a cyberattack will have on their ability to treat patients. When they encounter a cyber issue, data can be corrupted and held hostage, which makes treating patients difficult.
A survey by ZingBox found that more than 90 percent of IT networks in hospitals have Internet of Things (IoT) devices tied to them. Almost 70 percent of IT departments think the protocols they’ve put in place to secure laptops and servers will also cover IoT devices, while 76 percent say they’re confident that their network is covered and safe from cyberattacks.
The IoT market is predicted to hit $560-plus billion by 2020. This will impact the healthcare community as well, bringing more devices onto networks and increasing the risk of breaches. The Ponemon Institute has estimated that breaches have cost healthcare institutions roughly $380 per record. When you tally the mass of records in any given hospital, that adds up quickly.
At the top of the list of areas that need improvement is network security. There are more than 8.4 billion devices connected to networks this year, and that number is growing. Networks need to be scalable and support authorization and identification processes that ensure only the right people are connecting.
Improved data protection and privacy solutions need to be a focus, as well. Telehealth technology is rapidly being implemented, opening the door for vulnerabilities. Data protection and privacy protocols must be strengthened in this area.
The way data is shared needs a fresh look. As more third-party vendors and partnerships evolve, accountability becomes increasingly important. Vendors and third parties need to be thoroughly vetted to ensure they’re following best practices and that they’re not the weak link in the chain.
As the future of healthcare technology evolves, IoT will play an increasingly important role in patient management. By auditing your network, securing areas of concern, and being proactive, cyberattacks will pose less of a threat.
At SimpleWAN, we’ve developed automated protection services that make your networks secure. Active monitoring and security updating are our specialty, so contact us today to start mitigating risk and improving your services.