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The Growing Importance of Cybersecurity in the Healthcare Industry

Anthony Williams By Anthony Williams 9 Min Read

Nowadays, the healthcare industry will have to prioritize cyberattack prevention because the consequences of a breach are grave.

From system damages to ransomware payments, hospitals now face significant financial penalties from incidents like cyber attacks.

The fact is that medical staff work to tight deadlines and need slick working practices without distractions. However, staff could experience disruption of services and even a total blackout because of cyber attacks.

Why Cybersecurity in Healthcare?

Today, the healthcare sector is a common target for cybercriminals to steal vital medical information or just for ransomware payments.

As a matter of fact, this is one of the reasons why it’s crucial for any business to be concerned about cyber security nowadays.

So, what’s cyber security? Cyber security usually involves a variety of measures to protect organizations from external and internal cyber attacks.

This is important in healthcare facilities as it helps to ensure availability of medical services, proper operation of medical systems and equipment.

Furthermore, cyber security ensures preservation of confidentiality and integrity of patient data, as well as compliance with industry regulations.

Legacy Systems

Many healthcare organizations are still using outdated legacy systems nowadays. This is not a good idea at all because the creators of such systems will still need to be updating it manually in most cases.

 

In most cases, this includes older applications or operating system software and can leave healthcare businesses vulnerable to cyberattacks.

Though the system may still meet the needs it was originally designed for, it wouldn’t allow growth and expansion. Also, these systems can create backdoor entry points for hackers to access healthcare networks and data.

Implementing newer technology in the healthcare industry helps with more precise diagnoses and treatment plans. However, it also poses challenges for cybersecurity which could be dangerous if care is not taken.

The digitization of medical systems and patient information is creating more appealing targets for cyber attackers. It means a big problem for smaller practices that may lack the resources to implement new security measures.

Using legacy systems can also lead to a lack of vendor support and subject matter experts, increasing the risk of internal misuse or phishing attacks that could expose sensitive data to hackers.

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As a result, it is essential to educate staff on cybersecurity in healthcare industry and help them understand how to spot and avoid cyberattacks that bad actors can exploit.

Healthcare staff work long hours to meet the needs of patients and often don’t have the time or resources to keep up with online security threats.

This leaves them vulnerable to attacks that can disrupt workflow and compromise confidential patient information or lifesaving equipment.

Medical device authentication solutions that allow users to manage their own devices can help reduce the workload for IT specialists and ensure that cybersecurity is a priority for all staff members.

Patient Data

Hospitals store an enormous amount of confidential patient data that hackers can use for various purposes, from identity theft to ransomware. Also, hackers can sell this data on the black market for thousands of dollars, and victims can take years or even decades to regain their privacy.

However, this is a growing threat to healthcare facilities. As a matter of fact, the information isn’t just stored in IT systems and connected medical devices such as pacemakers and insulin pumps.

 

Using the Internet of Things (IoT), these devices are interconnected to IT networks that connect to cloud storage, which can then be accessed by hackers who are looking for vulnerable targets.

IoT devices are easy for hackers to attack as they often lack security in other network devices. Also, a hacker can control these devices remotely, allowing them to manipulate lifesaving equipment or access patient information.

Healthcare organizations must be prepared to react quickly when a cyberattack occurs. This includes backing up data and ensuring staff know basic cybersecurity principles, such as not clicking on unknown email links.

Also, healthcare providers must make sure that they have a secure system that is easily accessible by the staff. Additionally, there must be built-in measures to protect the system from cyberattacks.

Medical Devices

The medical industry has a lot of data to secure. It is not only confidential and valuable, but it also needs to be available quickly – especially when dealing with urgent patients. This can make it easy for hackers to gain access.

Furthermore, hospitals use connected devices that transmit data to doctors and allow staff members to work remotely. Also, these devices can be a significant vulnerability when they aren’t adequately protected.

This is particularly true because the popularity of “smart hardware” in healthcare is exponentially growing. This includes devices like pacemakers that are usually connected to the internet.

As these devices become more connected, it’s easier for cybercriminals to hack into them. Potentially, this can cause life-threatening consequences. The fact is that, many of these devices are based on legacy systems that still need to be updated to the latest software.

This can leave them vulnerable to attacks that would not be possible with the newest technology. Furthermore, these older systems are typically more difficult to upgrade than their newer counterparts.

This is because they have a different level of support from third-party vendors. Everyone in the healthcare industry is vested in strengthening cybersecurity to reduce the risk of cyberattacks and theft.

This includes patients who need to trust that their information is secure, healthcare providers, and everyone interacting with sensitive data.

Annual training is essential to ensure that employees know the risks they face and what steps to take when they encounter suspicious emails or files.

 

Security Measures

With modern medical advances, the healthcare industry will now have to protect high-value data. However, the industry also faces several cybersecurity threats that threaten patient safety and the integrity of vital records.

The Importance of Cybersecurity in the Healthcare Industry

Healthcare providers can keep vital data safe by understanding these challenges and putting mitigation efforts in place. In essence, robust cybersecurity plan is essential for any business including the healthcare industry.

For example, many of the newest medical equipment are digitized and connected to a server. These devices – such as X-ray machines, insulin pumps, and defibrillators – are essential to patient care.

Unfortunately, these devices are often not secure. This means that hackers can attack these devices and gain access to a hospital’s network. Potentially, it can deny hospitals from providing lifesaving care to their patients.

Moreover, some of the earliest healthcare systems are vulnerable to cyberattacks because their original creators still need to update them.

Due to cost and time constraints, these legacy systems can be complicated for healthcare businesses to upgrade. Still, they must invest in cybersecurity solutions to protect their patients from security breaches.

Hacking incidents that impact government agencies, major companies, and the delivery of essential goods were common in the last few years.

The fact of the matter is that healthcare industry is also not immune to these cyber attacks. This is why it’s important for C-suite executives and senior management to prioritize cybersecurity.

 

 

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Tony is a blogger, content creator, SEO marketer, and internet entrepreneur. He writes articles on various topics. Follow him on Twitter.
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