4 Reasons that Security Breaches in Healthcare are So Common
Despite HIPAA legislation meant to protect patient data, the Healthcare industry reported the highest amount of data breaches during the first half of 2019. Additionally, the Healthcare industry has the highest costs associated with data breaches, averaging 60% higher than the cross-industry average. This combination can be devastating for even the most established Healthcare partners.
Security breaches are preventable, however. Knowing the 4 reasons that security breaches in healthcare are common can help you create an effective cyber security strategy, and keep your organization safe.
1. Outdated Security Software
One of the most common causes of security breaches in the healthcare industry is the use of outdated antivirus and computer security software. In fact, the healthcare industry loses approximately $8 billion each year due to faulty software.
But, the lack of current software isn’t limited to only security programs. Outdated management software can leave gaps insecurity that hackers can easily locate and take advantage of.
For example, a healthcare facility’s management system may be disjointed and offer little to no possibility of oversight from a centralized location. Thus, there will be no way of keeping tabs on all of the potential security risks.
It is for this reason that many hospitals are pursuing cloud storage for their sensitive information so that all of the patients’ data can be stored and managed in one area, providing the maximum amount of security.
As a general rule of thumb, the more complicated data operations and storage are, the greater the risk of having that information compromised. Thus, simplicity is often the best option.
2. Internal Actors
The Healthcare industry is unique in its leading cause of data breaches: it is the only industry in which internal actors are the biggest threat to the organization. 58% of Healthcare data breaches occur because of incidents which involved insiders.
Data breaches are typically thought of as malicious, but internal actors can also accidentally cause a breach. Whether the actor’s motives were innocuous or malicious is irrelevant, however; errors can cause as much damage to your organization as cases of misuse.
Though it might seem counter-intuitive, cyber security can help prevent breaches caused by internal actors. A comprehensive cyber security strategy, including training and restricting the access of your employees, is the best way to protect your organization. Training your employees about the common cyber attacks in your industry, and how to thwart them, can help prevent accidental breaches. Limiting your employees’ access to sensitive information can also help prevent leaks, as malicious employees no longer have the means to easily cause a breach.
3. Healthcare Data Has a High Value
When a credit card number or other financial information is stolen, the problem is often immediately resolved by contacting the credit card company or bank. The stolen information instantly becomes useless to the hacker, and the months of effort dedicated to gaining the information is nullified.
However, when a patients’ healthcare information is stolen, it is much harder to secure the breach.
Healthcare records for patients typically include their phone number, date of birth, full name, and Social Security number. With this information about an individual, it is easy to commit identity theft. Because the information is much more valuable, on average healthcare companies pay $429 per stolen record as opposed to the cross-industry average of $150.
Your position as a prized target combined with the high cost associated with healthcare breaches makes the need for effective cyber security indispensable.
4. Relying Solely on HIPAA Compliance
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was created in order to provide guidelines on data privacy. But, simply following these provisions do not guarantee that your data will remain private.
You can think of HIPAA compliance as the bare minimum you have to do in order to keep your patients’ information safe. Therefore, it does not include other measures that would help bolster the security of sense of data.
For example, encryption is one of the most effective methods of keeping data safe. But, encryption is not required by HIPAA standards, leaving hospitals who rely solely on HIPAA guidelines to be at risk of a cyber attack.
Furthermore, technological innovation advances much faster than HIPAA requirements do, leaving it up to the facility itself to decide what extra measures they need to take.
Security Breaches in Healthcare Are more Common Than They Should Be
But action can be taken against that. With the proper preventive measures and enough vigilance and maintaining data security, you’ll be able to minimize the risk of security breaches in healthcare.
Even if it takes additional time and funding, data security should never be overlooked. Even one breach can be nearly impossible to recover from for everyone affected.
Want to learn more about what you can do to protect yourself? Check out the services we offer.