The Rise in Concern about Security Breaches in The Healthcare

Security breaches in the healthcare industry are at an all-time high. It has created a new wave of investment and a demand for the expertise that can effectively combat the modern day hacker and their cunning tactics.

The top three breaches of data security in the healthcare industry occurred where cybercriminals benefited from identity theft to avail medical services, prescriptions, and gain access to the confidential data of patients.

Currently, a massive breach in a security network recorded was that of a health insurance company Anthem. The cyber-attack exposed tons of patient records which included social security numbers and other personal information of the patients like their address. The breach led to the disclosure of details of 78.8 million employees of Anthem at the time, and also the classified information of all their former employees. There were other healthcare cyber-attacks too like Premera BlueCross and Excellus BlueCross.

 Data Breaches and Cybersecurity Concerns

The trends regarding security breach look grim. Healthcare is highly sensitive for individuals so it is the most violating breach one encounters. Often times, outdated systems at hospitals and lack of automation processes contribute to high risks associated with data breach.

According to Ponemon, a recognized private research institute, the average cost of a breach in the healthcare industry is the highest, more than any other industry. This is perhaps because of the amount of sensitive information and largely private information that the industry works with. Breaches break the doctor-patient confidentially code, which technically breaks the trust of a patient in a hospital and their ability to safely keep his records.

Another research conducted by Ponemon states that the average cost to a healthcare organization for a breach is $355, compared to $158 that amounts to the consequential cost of stolen or lost records in other industries. Through these numbers, it is evident that safeguarding against cybersecurity should be a priority for the healthcare industry.

 The Stolen Data Market

Stolen health care records get you a smaller price than what stolen financial records do. Therefore, the drive behind selling and stealing medical records in bulk is still not very clear. Intel Security McAfee Labs concluded a report labeled as Health Warning, which showed that hackers are using more resources than before and are dedicating more time to monetize health care data collected from breaches.

Financial data, however, is only valuable for a certain period of time before it becomes obsolete. When people discover about a breach, the cybersecurity intruder can only sell this information before people change their credit card numbers and renew their account details.

What is truly valuable here are the medical records, which cannot be changed. Some experts even debate that medical data might start to compete with financial data in terms of value in the black market. Its close but not quite there. According to another research conducted by Intel Security, the most valuable data remains biotech and pharmaceutical intellectual property.

 How the Healthcare Industry Tackles These Threats

Data breaches in the healthcare industry are expensive, not only for the organization who are the victims but also for the patients who have to make efforts to recover their data. Because of the rising trend, experts are working tirelessly to put a halt to these breaches.

The health care industry is still unprepared when we talk about data security. This is a problem that requires a thorough understanding of the data security threat but also being proactive in ways to tackle it. This can be tricky because many industries including health organizations have still not managed to outsmart the cybersecurity criminals.

 Implementing Healthcare Guidelines

FDA has also issued certain guidelines for medical devices used in health organizations which can be directly used to breach data security. From seemingly insignificant insulin pumps to advanced health applications on a tech device, everything can be hacked. All of these have become a part of the daily security network.

The guidelines issued earlier focused on security measures applied to devices before they were brought into the market, however, this has changed because of the new vulnerabilities in medical equipment. Security measures are now put into effect after devices are consumed by people. Fortunately, the guidelines also relay that manufacturers of these devices should open communication channels for a better understanding of their product so that consumers can identify any loopholes. A small example would be a smartphone user understanding how his device connects to unknown public hotspots.

The knowledge of understanding the device and your use of the device greatly aids in limiting chances of security breaches and exploitation of personal records.

Furthermore, the HIPAA Journal states that 91% of security breaches result from hacking emails. They seem as personalized emails, compelling people to click on them. Therefore, proper training of the staff in the health industry is mandatory to ensure optimal security levels.

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