How cybercrime is putting Healthcare Information at risk?

According to Office of Civil Rights, top ten data healthcare breaches from 2015 alone resulted in over 111 million patient records being compromised

Healthcare security

Author

Armen Najarian is Chief Marketing Officer at ThreatMetrix Inc.

While they may have been hesitant initially, healthcare organizations have started to fully embrace cloud technology. In fact, a recent survey by HIMSS Analytics found that 83% of healthcare organizations are currently using cloud-based applications. Furthermore, the cloud computing market in healthcare is expected to grow at a 20.5% compound annual growth rate to reach $9.48 billion by 2020.

Thanks to increased adoption of healthcare technology, consumers are able to use mobile devices to access their medical information, monitor their vital signs and even take laboratory tests at home. Doctors are able to remotely monitor crucial metrics such as blood pressure readings or heart rates and use hand-held computers to record real-time patient data and instantly upload it to existing medical files.

Cloud-based technology has undoubtedly improved the efficiency and efficacy of the healthcare industry, however it’s also had an unfortunate, adverse effect: It’s made healthcare organizations and consumers more vulnerable to cybercrime.

The sheer volume of cloud-based applications and services being used by healthcare organizations has introduced significant cybersecurity risks, and often, healthcare professionals and their patients aren’t educated on how to use cloud technology safely. Many healthcare professionals and consumers continue to use insecure, personal computing devices to access confidential healthcare data and some applications and services don’t adhere to industry compliance and security requirements like HIPPA or HITECH, making them easy entry points for malicious hackers.

According to the Office of Civil Rights, the top ten data healthcare breaches from 2015 alone resulted in over 111 million patient records being compromised. Just this week, hackers infiltrated the World Anti-Doping Agency’s athlete database to expose private medical information concerning Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Simone Biles, and according to IDC’s Health Insights group, 1 in 3 healthcare recipients will be the victim of a healthcare data breach this year.

Today’s healthcare organizations are failing in the battle against cybercrime primarily because their IT teams are using an outdated arsenal of tools. They’re relying on legacy platforms that use technology dependent upon signatures, and while these platforms may be good at blocking basic malware that’s known and documented, they stand little chance against today’s sophisticated, dynamic cyber attacks that occur across multiple vectors and stages.

Given their unique access to confidential patient data, healthcare organizations and their IT teams must take extra precaution not only in protecting healthcare information, but also in crafting data security compliance practices. To prevent data breaches from continually occurring, healthcare IT teams need to implement technology and cybersecurity procedures that can address the following key vulnerabilities:

User Credentials: Often, hackers will steal credentials to compromise healthcare user accounts for financial gain. Look for technology that can prevent unauthorized access to patients’ healthcare information by identifying anomalies that indicate someone might not be who they claim to be online. By understanding patient and physician login attempts from suspicious devices and locations, healthcare IT teams can better detect compromised accounts across multiple dimensions.

Payment Data: Many healthcare providers keep payment information on file, which presents hackers with an opportunity to steal payment credentials and access (or even bill) for healthcare worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Leverage solutions that use a layered, cross-channel approach to payment fraud protection and offer real-time analytics that scrutinize every transaction and can pinpoint malicious devices and IP addresses.

Remote Access: One of the greatest benefits of cloud-based technology is that it’s enabled healthcare professionals to access medical records and insurance data on the go. However the user accounts that make this process possible are popular targets for hackers, as they can provide access to confidential healthcare information, medical records, and payment data. Administer tools that can continually profile remote access devices and incorporate user identities and behaviors to identify any login behavior anomalies and/or malware threats.

While the benefits of technology for both healthcare professionals and their patients are undeniable, the security of cloud-based healthcare information needs to be prioritized first and foremost. Healthcare IT teams should leverage compliant technology that can ensure anyone connecting to online medical portals are who they claim to be, and they should implement tools that can trigger alerts before hackers can log into online medical portals. In doing so, healthcare organizations and consumers can rest assured that their valuable healthcare data will be accessed only by those who are authorized to use it.

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