The financial and retail industries have known the pains of cybersecurity threats for decades now, but in healthcare, it’s a relatively newer concept. Fortunately, the precedent set by major corporations after an increase in recent hacks will help healthcare accomplish in 5 years what finance did in 25 years.
What you need to know is if your practice is prepared in the event of a cybersecurity risk.
Financial information is one thing; most people will be covered by their banks for any fraudulent activity that takes place. But what about a person’s sensitive health information? Who will cover the costs incurred from that data breach? Unfortunately, the answer is the patient.
At the top of the priority list then for healthcare providers is security–at least it should be. Medical practice IT support should be on hand at a moments notice. Consider taking this time to conduct an assessment of your IT support to find areas of weakness.
Conduct an in-house risk assessment
It’s an unfortunate fact, but most security breeches are the result of an inside job. This makes monitoring and restricting your employee’s online activity extremely necessary.
Start the process upon first hiring an employee. Ensure they read documentation and sign that documentation stating they understand your IT policies and procedures. This is part of HIPAA compliance, but that won’t stop a malicious employee.
If you aren’t planning on hiring a dedicated IT officer, then the task of monitoring and managing IT operations must be given to someone else who is trustworthy and reliable to ensure employee compliance. Require all employees to change their user passwords every couple of months and ensure all devices are encrypted and remain in the office.
Hire the right IT provider
Whether you’re choosing to hire a chief information officer or outsourcing to a managed service provider, make sure you choose the best option for your practice. These options typically depend on the size of your healthcare organization.
Smaller practices often times cannot afford to hire a dedicated internal IT staff member, so they outsource to trusted MSPs. MSPs are becoming more popular due to the complexity and knowledge required for IT.
Conduct a security risk analysis
With the help of your IT support vendor, conduct a risk analysis. This usually includes an assessment of current equipment usage to determine it’s effectiveness and whether or not it needs to be updated or replaced. This includes a physical assessment of equipment, such as servers and monitors.
Many often overlook this necessary aspect of a risk assessment. If your practice is housing data in on-site servers, it’s imperative that they are both secure and safe from any damage that could occur. Many providers are switching data over to the cloud, so in this case it’s necessary to make sure your vendor is securely storing your information.
Healthcare security breaches are expected to increase in numbers and severity in the coming years. Prepare your practice now for any potential threats by following these basic guidelines. Ensure you have the proper medical practice IT support to handle a data breech. Work with an IT vendor that is dedicated to serving healthcare providers and their specific needs.