24 September 2023

Digital Technology Guru

Digital Technology Guru Reviews

Ensuring Cybersecurity in Healthcare: Challenges and Solutions

2 min read
Ensuring Cybersecurity in Healthcare: Challenges and Solutions

Modern healthcare relies heavily on sharing patient data, making security a top priority in an industry that handles sensitive information. However, frontline healthcare workers, who are focused on saving lives, often do not have the time or inclination to prioritize security. Jonathan Whitley of WatchGuard Technologies emphasizes the need for security technology that is not complex in terms of access, use, and data sharing. Cybersecurity threats are a constant risk in the healthcare sector, as patient data is always in transit. The adoption of new technologies adds to the risk, but a strong cybersecurity posture is crucial for delivering quality care.

Ransomware attacks on healthcare organizations have increased 94% from 2021 to 2022, with cyber attackers exploiting the deadly consequences of these attacks and the urgent response required from the affected organizations. Unfortunately, most of the victims end up paying the ransom. Whitley emphasizes the importance of raising awareness about security gaps, issues, and threats in order to address the vulnerabilities in the healthcare sector.

A survey conducted Gartner Peer Insights and Watchguard reveals that almost half of the respondents have experienced a data breach in the last two years. Legacy systems and phishing attacks are identified as the main vulnerabilities in the healthcare industry. The top security challenges in healthcare are legacy tech/systems, talent gaps, and outdated security measures. The consequences of a security breach in healthcare can include operational outages, lawsuits, loss of intellectual property, loss of patient data, critical operating data loss, revenue loss, erosion of patient trust, reputational harm, data corruption, downtime, and recovery time.

Despite the human factor being a common denominator in data breaches, credential protection methods such as multi-factor authentication (MFA) are not widely adopted in healthcare. Only 24% of respondents have MFA authentication policies in place. Cloud storage is a major concern for 61% of healthcare leaders, while only 26% consider smart medical devices and wearable devices to be vulnerable to cyber risk.

To protect patient data, 68% of respondents follow specific protected health information (PHI) protocols, and 64% encrypt all patient data. However, only 53% conduct consistent security risk assessments, and just 24% use risk-based authentication policies to control access to patient data. Many healthcare organizations outsource cybersecurity threat monitoring to managed service providers (MSPs).

The top concerns regarding web-connected medical devices are cybersecurity attacks, data integrity, and high latency. Healthcare IT professionals are taking measures to encourage employee adoption of security measures, such as sending test phishing emails, increasing IT security training, adopting compliance policies, and making corporate security certification mandatory for employees.

In conclusion, ensuring cybersecurity in healthcare is a constant challenge. It requires awareness, investment in robust security measures, adoption of best practices such as multi-factor authentication, and diligent monitoring of web-connected medical devices. By addressing these challenges, healthcare organizations can protect patient data and deliver high-quality care without compromising security.

– “Modern Healthcare Security Is a Balancing Act” Jonathan Whitley, WatchGuard Technologies