The COVID-19 pandemic impacted nearly every facet of the healthcare industry. According to a CI Security Report, the number of healthcare cybersecurity breaches increased from 270 in the first half of 2020 to 366 in the second half.
Due to the uptick in cybersecurity threats, organizations are focusing on business continuity efforts and meeting compliance requirements.
How Did COVID-19 Impact Healthcare Cybersecurity?
The healthcare sector is highly vulnerable to attacks as hackers discover new and innovative ways to exploit evolving technologies. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected cybersecurity in healthcare in a number of different ways.
Malware And Ransomware Become More Widespread
Criminal groups have been pushing COVID-19 themed lures since the beginning of the pandemic to trick distracted and worried individuals into giving away sensitive information or performing a certain action, such as clicking a link in a phishing email. Information regarding vaccines, free downloads for technology solutions, and financial scams are among some of the most common forms of fraud in the COVID-19 era. Healthcare facilities must take extra precautions as malware and ransomware become more widespread.
Cyber Threats Are Now The Most Common Risk For Healthcare Organizations
Of the many risks facing healthcare organizations, cyber threats are now the most common threat. From malicious network traffic and web application attacks to ransomware and phishing attacks, it is vital for organizations to measure their risk and take steps to protect against cyber threats.
Compliance Laws Were Introduced And Amended
With the rise of cybersecurity attacks during COVID, several compliance laws were introduced or amended. For example, the HIPAA Security Rule was relaxed to allow for the use of video conferencing tools. To avoid non-compliance, organizations must offer visibility of their infrastructure, including networks, assets and security controls.
Remote Work Introduced A New Wave Of IT Challenges
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses made the transition to remote work to allow employees to work safely from home. However, remote work introduced new challenges, such as compromised devices, web browser-related infections and phishing campaigns.
How Can Healthcare Organizations Plan For The Future?
There are many things that organizations in the healthcare sector can do to protect against cybersecurity threats and remain compliant. Here are some of the ways that healthcare organizations can plan for the future:
Gain A Complete Understanding Of Technology And Security Spending
Before adopting new technology, assess the organization’s current technology and determine where changes and updates can be made. Build security awareness into the organization’s culture to ensure that the entire workforce has a complete understanding of how to avoid cyber threats. Allocate sufficient funds to keep pace with evolving technologies and avoid security gaps.
Prioritize The Protection Of Patient Data Over Everything Else
There are many components that businesses must consider when developing a secure infrastructure. However, the protection of patient data should be prioritized above all else, including over system functionalities like speed. Data protection in healthcare is critical to avoid costly breaches and similar cybercrimes.
Provide CIOs And CISOs With Any Necessary Resources
Chief information officers (CIOs) and chief information security officers (CISOs) rely heavily on resources provided by healthcare organizations to make strategic and operational decisions on behalf of the business. It is the responsibility of the organization to provide as many resources as possible to aid in the development of information security procedures and policies.
Implement An Incident Response Plan
An incident response plan is a healthcare organization’s best chance at defending itself against the effects of a data breach. This detailed set of instructions can help organizations detect, prepare for, respond to and ultimately recover from a wide range of network security issues.
Conduct Quality Assurance & Performance Improvement
Managing an organization’s cybersecurity performance requires leaders to take an outcome-driven approach. This can be achieved by conducting quality assurance and performance improvement initiatives. Organizations must continuously monitor their security posture.
Keep Up With Changes To Healthcare Cybersecurity And Compliance Laws
The healthcare industry remains a target for hackers looking to steal large amounts of sensitive patient data. To reduce the risk of data breaches and similar cybercrimes, organizations must continue to keep up with changes and ensure that they remain compliant with all new, existing and amended laws.
Speak With The Healthcare Cybersecurity Consultants At Hartman Today
Technology has transformed the healthcare sector, which has become increasingly evident since the start of the pandemic. To better assess your current IT ecosystem and prepare for future growth, consider working with a healthcare cybersecurity consultant. Contact Hartman Executive Advisors to request a consultation or to find out more about our strategic business and IT consulting services.