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Medical Clinician And Healthcare CIO Discuss Healthcare Cyber Security Strategic Planning

Healthcare Cyber Security Still Struggling: What You Should Know

March 18, 2019

Posted in: Healthcare - Information Technology - Radiology

The healthcare industry is still having a hard time getting its cyber security under control, despite ongoing knowledge that the healthcare sector is among the most vulnerable to cyber attack. It is worth examining why healthcare cyber security faces these challenges, and what can be done to remedy the problems.

Healthcare Sector Experiences Twice The Number Of Cyber Attacks

According to statistics, there are approximately twice the number of attacks in healthcare as other industries. One of the reasons for this is that many health systems have broad reach. An incident that originates in one state or country may spread much farther than a single location, thereby making the results more substantial for hackers.

Research also shows that healthcare facilities are inadequately prepared against cyber attacks. According to one investigation, only 33 percent of local health departments had a plan to respond to cyber attacks.

Hackers Know They Have Seized Urgently Needed Material

Due to the number of people who use health facilities and the sensitive data contained within, hackers know that these targets could result in higher-than-average payoffs for successful attacks. They also realize that, in the case of ransomware attacks, the victims may be so desperate to retrieve the data that they will pay the ransom.

Once hospitals are alerted to the issue, their systems are often completely shut down for days, forcing providers to switch to pen and paper systems. Fortunately, facilities can limit the access hackers have to patient files. These steps do not guarantee cyber criminals will not gain access, but they could limit their damage.

Healthcare Cyber Attacks Disrupt Patient Care

Some cyber attacks are so severe that they prevent hospitals from adequately caring for patients. Because of the risk of hackers targeting not only patient records but also the devices used to treat patients, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) unveiled a new action plan to secure medical devices. The organization also aims to create more oversight in the industry and wants to enforce mandatory software patching when needed.

Healthcare Cyber Security Lacks Resources

Despite a rise in information technology (IT) spending at hospitals, the average amount devoted to IT is still only from two to four percent of an overall budget. Also, many hospitals intend to implement newer, better technology but have yet to do so.

Data published in 2019 shows that there are more than 6,200 hospitals in the United States. When niche software application developers serve hospitals and medical facilities, they might lack the resources to update their applications with sufficient frequency.

How Should Hospitals Respond?

The rising number and type of potential cyber attacks are challenging for healthcare facilities. However, automated threat detection could detect strange network traffic and alert IT representatives before infiltrations become more severe. It is also necessary for health facilities to stay aware of industry trends, such as SIEM as a Service and SOC as a Service.

Finally, hospitals must realize that improving healthcare cyber security is not something that can occur quickly or through a one-time effort. Ongoing diligence and investments are needed to keep threats at bay and reduce the likelihood of cyber attacks that cause extensive downtime. Call Nuvodia today to secure your healthcare IT network!

By Josh Andrade (Nuvodia, Marketing Specialist)

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