In today’s digital age, the security of medical information is paramount. For healthcare practices, safeguarding patient data on mobile devices is not just a best practice but a necessity.
The following statistics from the Cyber Security Report 2022 by the Australian Digital Health Agency show a very startling escalation that is only getting worse with each year. It’s not a matter of should you invest in Security, it’s now a requirement to stay safe and continue trading.
- 70% of surveyed organisations reported that healthcare ransomware attacks have resulted in longer lengths of stays in hospital and delays in procedures and tests causing poor outcomes including an increase in patient mortality;
- 65% of respondents reported an increase in the number of patients being diverted to other facilities due to system lockouts from ransomware;
- 36% reported an increase in complications from medical procedures due to ransomware attacks;
- Ransomware attacks on the healthcare industry almost doubled. 66% of healthcare organisations surveyed were hit by ransomware in 2021, up from 34% in 2020;
- Healthcare, unfortunately, is most likely to pay the ransom, ranking first with 61% of organisations paying the ransom to get their encrypted data back, compared with the global average of 46%, this is almost double than 34% who paid the ransom in 2020. Despite the recommendation that you DO NOT pay, you instead wipe all systems and restore from your Disaster Recovery or Backups.
- High cost to recover from ransomware incidents – healthcare is ranked second highest at $1.85M USD in terms of the average cost to rectify ransomware attacks compared with the global average of $1.40M USD.
Now, let’s continue on with the post.
In just one week, and without breaking the bank, you can significantly enhance your practice’s IT security. Here’s how:
Day 1: Assess Your Current Security Measures
Start by assessing the current state of your mobile device security. Identify which devices have access to sensitive patient data and evaluate the existing security measures in place. Are your devices using up-to-date software? Do they have strong password protections? Do you have an MDM in place?
Day 2: Educate Your Staff
Knowledge is power. Contact a vendor, maybe your Practice Management vendor and see if they’ll offer a Lunch and Learn, most do these days and generally will cover topics like secure passwords, recognising phishing attempts, and safe browsing practices and other recommendations for staying safe and some will be specific to the platform you use.
Day 3: Implement Two-Factor Authentication
Add an extra layer of security by implementing two-factor authentication (2FA) on all devices for all platforms that support it. This can be done using free tools available online. 2FA ensures that even if a password is compromised, unauthorised users can’t access sensitive data.
Day 4: Set Up Remote Wipe Capabilities
In case a device is lost or stolen, having the ability to wipe sensitive data remotely is crucial. If you’re in an iOS environment, ensure that all iOS devices are enrolled into a central Find My so that you can remotely erase and block the device. You can also look at Jamf Now for much greater control over Apple devices.
Day 5: Regularly Update Your Devices
Ensure that all mobile devices are set to update automatically. Regular updates are vital for fixing security vulnerabilities.
Day 6: Encrypt Sensitive Data
Ensure that if the device has sensitive data on it, that you have a strong PIN and Facial Recognition enabled as this will ensure the data on the device is encrypted. There are some apps that go a step further and act as a container for documents and are encrypted with a different PIN. Only use the App Store and check reviews.
Day 7: Review and Plan
Finally, review the measures you’ve implemented and plan for regular check-ins. IT security is not a one-time task but an ongoing process. Regularly revisit your security protocols to ensure they are up-to-date. The biggest of them all, ensure you’re following the 3, 2, 1 Backup Recommendation and ensure your Disaster Recovery Plan is up-to-date and has been tested with your backups too.
Implementing these steps can dramatically improve your practice’s IT security, safeguarding your patients’ data, and ensuring compliance with healthcare regulations. Remember, in the world of healthcare, the security of patient information is not just a luxury, but a fundamental necessity.
Managing a modern medical practice comes with immense technology complexities. But despite the headaches, the #1 priority must always be upholding robust protections of sensitive patient data.
If you’re unsure of how your practice stacks up against the threats of today, call and make and appointment today!