Why cybersecurity education is key to safeguarding medical practices

Cyberattacks on healthcare networks have increased exponentially in recent years, but there are steps in place to protect medical practices.

Privacy is a top concern for individuals in the digital world, but it’s especially true for patients and their Protected Health Information (PHI), which carries a high price tag on the dark web. The unfortunate reality is that cyber-attacks on healthcare networks have increased exponentially in recent years, putting sensitive patient information at risk. Healthcare IT can help with increased security posture, and organizations can provide staff with up-to-date cybersecurity training.

Below are some of the key cybersecurity fundamentals and best practices to follow.

Conducting Healthcare Cybersecurity Training

Human errors and omissions can have serious and costly consequences for healthcare organizations. Cybersecurity training provides healthcare professionals with the information they need to make smart decisions and exercise due diligence when managing patient data. In particular, effective cybersecurity training can help employees recognize and stop attacks before they do damage. First, talk to a trusted cybersecurity provider to coordinate cybersecurity and employee training programs to protect your data.

Another reason cybersecurity training is essential is that it’s mandated by HIPAA. Specifically, the HIPAA Privacy Rule includes a provision requiring providers to “train all members of their workforce on their policies and procedures regarding PHI,” and the HIPAA Security Rule requires providers to ” Implement a security awareness and training program for all members of the workforce (including managers).” Conducting and repeating that training frequently ensures that employees know that their use of PHI requires special protection. Become aware of the situation. HIPAA Compliant Email Or role-based access control.

In addition to being aware of threats, employees should be trained in your organization’s data incident reporting protocol if an employee’s device becomes infected with a virus or behaves abnormally. Warning signs of such problems can include slow machine performance, unexplained errors, and changes in computer functionality. The responsible person should know how to identify genuine warning messages or alerts and promptly report such incidents to her IT staff.

Get the latest on HIPAA privacy and security rules

Beyond the aforementioned training requirements, the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rule includes broad provisions for protecting patient data.

HIPAA’s security rules ensure the security of electronic health information created, used, and maintained by covered entities (that is, organizations covered by HIPAA). The HIPAA Security Rules establish policies and procedures for how protected health information is managed from an administrative, physical, and technical perspective.

In accordance with privacy regulations, information cannot be used or shared without the patient’s permission. Personal health information, including medical records, insurance information, and other sensitive data, must be protected according to the HIPAA privacy rule.

Since these rules were first added to HIPAA legislation in 2000 (privacy rules) and 2003 (security rules), recent Notice of Enforcement Discretion It was enacted during the pandemic to allow healthcare providers more flexibility in using remote communication tools for telemedicine.

It’s important that healthcare providers and staff stay up to date with HIPAA regulations and rules as part of their cybersecurity training.

use strong passwords

Passwords can be easily misused by malicious individuals. One of the most serious risks to corporate security is a weak password. Organizations such as the National Institute for Standards in Technology (NIST) regularly publish and update their recommended password guidelines. The latest NIST recommendations* include:

  • Password length is more important than password complexity.
  • Do not force periodic password resets.
  • Implement two-factor authentication. This authentication requires the user to be authenticated using an additional form of her identity, such as accessing an email account.
  • Use a password manager to encourage employees to choose stronger passwords

Beware of unknown emails

One of the most common ways hackers gain access to a company’s network is through email phishing attacks, also known as email spoofing or email spoofing. Phishing is a malicious attempt to trick a recipient into providing personal information or his online account information in order to gain access to and abuse more critical and sensitive systems.

In healthcare practice, display name spoofing (a targeted phishing attack that changes the display name of an email to make the message appear to come from a trusted source) is frequently used by malicious actors. attack strategy. There are technologies designed specifically for Fighting display name spoofingWhen it comes to training, it’s important to understand the who, what, where, when and why of every email your employees receive. In particular:

  • Do not blindly click attachments or links.
  • Watch out for messages that seem too good or too urgent to be true.
  • Hover over the display name to see the sender’s email address.
  • Check all email header information, not just the email address.
  • If you’re using a mobile device and the message isn’t clear, open it on your computer as well.
  • If the email is suspicious, please contact the sender in another way.

best defense

The best defense is often a good attack, and being prepared and educated about cybersecurity threats is paramount to medical practice. Combining strong IT safeguards with a cybersecurity-conscious staff ensures that practice is conducted in a safe and secure manner.

Sean Dickerson is Vice President of Marketing. po boxis the leader in HIPAA-compliant email and marketing solutions for healthcare organizations.

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