New and Evolving Ransomware Risks Challenge Healthcare Leaders
Healthcare and life sciences organizations are particularly attractive targets for ransomware attacks. Not only do they have large volumes of critical data and intellectual property, but they also face the additional challenge of tailoring security strategies to a constantly evolving set of privacy regulations and standards, which often complicates the path to achieving their mission.
To ensure compliance with government regulations such as HIPAA and HITECH (the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act), providers have become intimately familiar with the importance of backups for critical data. However, as these providers face exploding demand and unprecedented volumes of data, the need to restore data quickly has never been greater. Healthcare providers simply cannot afford to lose access to critical information as they await its restoration.
Moreover, the rise of remote work has marked a period of vulnerability for businesses across the country. An abrupt shift from on-premises operations to the cloud is a significant challenge for many, requiring the deployment of reliable, fast and secure virtual desktop infrastructure.
It is crucial for healthcare organizations and businesses to take a unified approach to data security and ensure the protection of valuable information at a time when access is vital. The establishment of these security measures is a tricky balancing act, especially if they’re built on outdated infrastructure.
Still, these concerns are not limited to the current pandemic.
Ransomware attacks against healthcare and life sciences organizations are up 35 percent over the past three years, primarily targeted at direct patient care facilities, according to RiskIQ. Moreover, the vast majority of ransomware attacks (70 percent) were aimed at small hospitals and health centers, likely because they have limited security resources, and hackers expect they will pay the ransom to recover their data.
Why Hospitals Need Data Backup and Recovery Tools
Whether on-premises or in the cloud, data backups are essential for mitigating ransomware attacks. They safeguard critical data against many common scenarios, from disaster recovery to accidental deletions.
These attacks, after all, can stress existing data protection infrastructure that may be built on outdated architectures, thus exacerbating business challenges and creating additional downtime and confusion.
Two recovery functions that are key for limiting the effects of ransomware attacks are reliability of backups and rapid restoration of data. Reliable backup technology that can prevent changes or malicious deletions is paramount. If backup systems and data are compromised, a full reinstall and reconfiguration of the system would be required.