While the entire healthcare industry is riding on the coattails of continually advancing technologies, the potential for cyber-attacks and cyber security threats have been plaguing hospitals and other healthcare organizations. A significantly large number of healthcare organizations including hospitals, nursing centres, and private clinics still lack a robust cyber security framework amidst the rise of the Information Age.
With a majority of patient records and data being operated digitally, through software or other internet-based tools, the healthcare industry is exposed to multiple sorts of malware and ransomware attacks. Thereby, as the healthcare industry continues to evolve with advancements in the information technology (IT), it has become inevitable for stakeholders to manage cyber security to deal with phishing scam and data breach risks.
Even though advancements in technology are contributing majorly to the incremental growth of the healthcare industry, it is a dichotomy that technology is the sole reason why it is highly vulnerable to threats and cyber-attacks. Here are the top three factors that make cyber security indispensable for the healthcare industry.
Hackers are Upping their Heist Game to Target Healthcare Firms
A survey conducted by a leading software company offering cyber security solutions found that more than two-third of its respondents observed that cyber attacks on the healthcare industry have become more sophisticated with time.
As healthcare organizations are moving to cloud-based operations, they are becoming more vulnerable to potential cyber-attacks. This is encouraging cyber criminals to carry out ransomware attacks on the industry.
With hackers becoming better at their game, cyber threats to the healthcare space are likely to increase significantly in 2020, leading to a heightened cost of security breaches for the industry. This is expected to trigger a mounting number of healthcare firms to invest heavily in cyber security tools in the coming year.
Personal Health Information is becoming More Valuable that Ever
Healthcare industry is leveraging the power of state-of-the-art software tools to manage personal information and data about patients through IT. This, coupled with increasing value of personal data of patients, is making the industry a gold mine for hackers, as stealing personal health information can fetch them incredible profits in black markets.
The existing networks and software tools incorporated by most stakeholders in the healthcare industry provide loopholes for hackers to reach personal health information of patients.
As a payoff of stealing even one record of personal health information of patients can be a substantial incentive, cyber criminals are eying the healthcare industry to devise their attacks. This is another important factor alarming the healthcare industry to incorporate a robust cyber security framework.
Governing Bodies are Issuing Cyber Security Guidelines for Healthcare Industry
Taking into consideration the multiplying costs of security threats for the healthcare industry, governmental organizations across the worlds are taking an initiative to alert healthcare organizations to strengthen their security programs to fight cyber-attacks. Especially in developed countries, where healthcare firms are actively shifting to digital patient management systems, governing bodies and policymakers have begun to work with the industry to enhance cyber security in this space.
In October 2018, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued guidelines related to voluntary cyber security practices for organizations of all types and sizes in the healthcare industry. HHS released a four-volume publication – “Health Industry Cybersecurity Practices (HICP): Managing Threats and Protecting Patients” – in collaboration with the industry, making this a public-private partnership. These guidelines are applicable for all the types of healthcare firms ranging from local clinics to large hospital systems, encouraging them to implement cyber security practices to combat myriad attacks from adversaries and cyber criminals.
With increasing support from governing bodies, the healthcare industry is expected to take a leap towards a more robust cyber security framework in the coming years.