Aug 15 2017

Healthcare Leaders Must Prepare for the Worst When It Comes to Cybersecurity

Technology prepares provider organizations to protect patients and staff from growing threats.

Hope for the best outcome, but prepare for the worst.

The advice is simple, but clearly ­applicable to healthcare, particularly in the wake of ongoing cyberattacks.

Each day, providers strive to care for patients who walk through their doors and to keep them safe and secure. Now more than ever, clinical, IT and security leaders must take a lockstep approach to achieve those goals.

Consider the WannaCry ransomware outbreak in May that paralyzed hospitals in the United Kingdom, forcing many to cancel patient appointments and operations. That attack, and others like it that have also hit hospitals in the United States, pose a threat to patient privacy and care delivery.

What’s more, those attacks cost organizations money, especially the unprepared. A recent Ponemon Institute study finds that companies that use business continuity management and disaster recovery services — including the healthcare industry — spend nearly 40 percent less per day trying to mitigate data breaches than those that do not.

Secure Healthcare Endpoints to Keep Cyberattacks at Bay

Healthcare security experts shared tips for mitigating cyberthreats at the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation conference in June. Scot Copeland, a medical IT network risk manager at Scripps Health in San Diego, noted that multiple tools, including security software, must work together for ­optimal protection.

As part of its robust security strategy, Norwalk, Ohio-based Fisher-Titus Medical Center deploys endpoint management software that identifies hacking patterns while developing deep analytics on potential threats. The software also warns of quarantined files, IT Operations and Infrastructure Manager Peter Jacob says.

Sixty percent of cybersecurity professionals surveyed ahead of the recent Black Hat USA conference, including those from healthcare organizations, believe that an attack on U.S. critical infrastructure will take place within two years. As cyberthreats continue to grow more complex, information security leaders must take full advantage of technology to ensure patient privacy and safety.


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