Cybersecurity in healthcare is a rapidly growing issue as the healthcare sector is facing a security crisis: a recent study on the industry’s cybersecurity challenges reported a record high 780 security breaches over the course of a year. Making matters worse, the following year saw a 40% spike. With such a dramatic YOY increase, it’s obvious that hackers are creating new weapons faster than hospitals can develop new safeguards.
But from an organizational standpoint, what are some of the healthcare industry’s biggest challenges in fighting back? Perhaps some of the InfosecInstitute’s findings ring familiar:
- Limited budget or prioritization of cybersecurity
- Employees using personal devices for patient data and hospital work
- Workforce negligence or lack of training on spotting potential threats
While each hospital may face its own set of roadblocks in boosting their cyber safety, administrators need to ask themselves how they plan to overcome them to protect sensitive patient and organizational information without stretching the budget to a breaking point.
The Unique Challenges of Cybersecurity in Healthcare
The Healthcare industry has been struggling with cybercrime. Consider these recently compiled statistics:
- 90% of providers admitted they had already suffered at least one data breach in the prior two years
- In 2013 alone, over seven million patient records had been impacted by these data breaches
- The annual cost of these data breaches to healthcare networks has been pegged at $5.6 billion per year
The impact and volume of cyberattacks on Healthcare organizations are projected to increase dramatically in coming years. In just one projection, ransomware attacks on healthcare organizations are predicted to quadruple by 2020. And last year, Infosecurity Magazine identified Healthcare as “the top-targeted vertical for cybercrime”.
Why is Healthcare such a prime target for cyber attacks? Simple: Healthcare organizations are filled with high-value data, and a few characteristics of how they operation make it challenging to maintain digital security. Healthcare organizations often utilize networks and systems that deploy on-premise, legacy technology with many security vulnerabilities. At the same time, Healthcare organizations are attempting to catch up and fully digitize their organizations through the transition to electronic medical records, the embrace of patient-focused mobile health, and the increased use of BYOD and internal digital collaboration among staff.
In addition, the industry itself is particularly vulnerable when a security event occurs. Healthcare is a highly regulated industry, which makes it challenging to select and bring compliant security measures to organizations. This leads to long shopping times for vendors and long rollout phases; with this gap in security, cybercriminals have more time to attack care centers. While hospitals understand the seriousness of hacking, the costs and high standard needed to be compliance prevents any type of quick solution.
However, it isn’t all doom and gloom. Yes, Healthcare organizations are placed in a challenging position to protect their increasingly important and interlocked digital systems. But there is one simple solution that brings next-generation security to Healthcare organizations, and prevents 99.9% of next-generation threats in a cost-effective manner.
The Simple Solution for Cybersecurity in Healthcare
Rather than piece together a strategy using a series of vendors and solutions that may not integrate with each other, organizations should look more towards simple, budget-friendly, and unified systems with next-gen security tools built into their service.
For a good example of this, look to cloud-based email and collaboration services. These provide a comprehensive suite of tools that include email, data storage, communication, mobile device management, and a host of other applications, all with security features built into their core. Security is remotely managed, and constantly updated, so once administrators roll out their new processes, they never have to worry about upgrades or compatibility issues.
These tools are also not a financial albatross. In fact, they should be viewed as a low-cost investment, given the tremendous bottom line damage a cyberhack can cause. UCI Health, a medium-sized care center, invested $7 million in cybersecurity, and soon saw an 18% drop in malicious emails opened by employees.
What Your Hospital (and C-Suite) Can Do to Protect Their Data
Google’s G Suite license—with its family of apps that provide full email, storage, collaboration, and communication functionality—costs between $5-$10 per user, and includes next-generation security as a standard component of their product. Cloud-based productivity suites like G Suite are fully HIPAA-compliant and integrate well with clinical operations. In addition, G Suite increasingly tailors their services to the full spectrum of Healthcare organizations’ needs. Leveraging the capabilities of G Suite improves the patient experience by increasing the speed of registration, communication, and feedback. This allows users to provide more effective care, manage files from any device, and more effectively coordinate care between multiple locations (including out-of-network care centers).
Cybersecurity is a multi-billion dollar threat that won’t go away, and so it will be up to Healthcare leaders to make the right choice for how they safeguard their data. Despite the complex problem, G Suite for Healthcare is the simple, effective, budget-friendly choice for care centers of all sizes.