Healthcare facilities are nothing like they used to be.

Gone are the days where doctors would come to their patients’ houses.

Gone are the days where advanced medical equipment was rare.

Better technology has allowed us to complete any given medical procedure much faster than ever before.

But the numerous digital footprints that are left from these processes can lead to cybersecurity threats. And because it is becoming more and more common to store data and information regarding medical procedures in digital form, cybersecurity threats are more common than ever.

Thus, the need to expand your skill set emerges from this: skills that entail the systematic prevention of cybersecurity threats.

How do cybersecurity threats occur?

Cybersecurity refers to the process by which the information and data involved in a transaction or operation is sent digitally.

This data and information usually gets stored for very long periods of time, as they can usually be used as a point of reference in healthcare facilities.

The term for this is “digital footprint.” Because nearly all operations in a healthcare facility utilize this for efficiency, it is very easy for the information shared to be compromised.

The sheer amount of information that is shared in modern healthcare transactions and operations are how cybersecurity threats take place.

If your healthcare facility doesn’t a dedicated system of micromanaging all this information, you’ll be at the risk of more cybersecurity threats than you think.

This leads to the burning question: What information gets compromised, and who compromises it?

During the last calendar year, nearly 75% of the data that was compromised involved medical information.

What does this reveal? It reveals that nearly three quarters of those who breach cybersecurity measures do it to view medical records to see how much money is involved in the medical records.

A more disturbing figure is the individuals involved in the security compromises. According to IBM’s 2016 Cyber Security Intelligence Index, 60% of cyber-attacks were caused by insiders. While not all of these were done with malicious intent, the fact remains that employees are a key component of cyber-attacks.

What does this mean?

It means that your very own IT team might be phishing out information from medical devices to see if they can benefit from it in some aspect.

A knee-jerk solution to this would be to determine who within your facility is doing such things and then promptly let them go.

However, that will not ultimately solve the cybersecurity threat problem. It’s smarter to develop better strategies to prevent cybersecurity threats as a whole.

What can be done to prevent this?

There is no way to perfectly prevent cybersecurity attacks. Because medical devices deal with transmitting all kinds of information constantly, things will be compromised in some way at some point.

However, there are things that can be done to contain them.

For example, nearly every medical device requires a password. While it may seem easier to assign the same password (or variations of the same password) to every device, this will almost guarantee that these devices will be compromised.

One easy thing that you can do to prevent cybersecurity threats is to assign different passwords to different devices.

Because so many devices are used in healthcare facilities, doing this can be tedious and may upset some staff. But don’t let this stop you from taking steps to reduce cybersecurity threats.

Another thing that can be done to minimize cybersecurity threats is to separate medical device networks from other networks.

This may also be tedious at first and may also cause some complications. Again, you’ll need to do this if you are even remotely interested in improving cybersecurity within your facility.

If you possess medical devices that are out of service or due to be replaced with a more efficient medical device, you’ll want to clear all of the data from the device.

Another common cybersecurity threat comes from information that is left on devices that are decommissioned and out of service. Although the device may be out of date, the information inside of it certainly is not.

Take the additional steps to make sure that there is no more data on the device that could be used.

Although some in healthcare technology management may not be directly responsible for the safekeeping of customer and hospital data, it’s likely that you’ll be working alongside those who are. Understanding these issues contributes to a more productive and cyber-safe environment.

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