I’m a big fan of Verizon’s annual Data Breach Investigations Report, which comes out somewhere between March and April every year. With tens of thousands of data points, the breach data they collect is statistically relevant. In this year’s report, nearly one quarter (24%) of data breaches were found to have occurred in a single industry—healthcare. The value of a single, complete healthcare record can sell anywhere from hundreds of dollars to over a thousand.
With so many data breaches falling within one industry vertical, it makes sense to examine some of the more common security challenges healthcare faces and help guide managed service providers working—or looking to work—in the sector. I’ll do this by leveraging this year’s Verizon Protected Health Information Data Breach report—a subset of the DBIR for just the healthcare industry. While the report focuses on the final outcome of a potential or successful data breach, it brings to light a number of serious deficiencies in the healthcare industry’s security stance that are applicable across the board.
With each, I’ll also provide some guidance around what can be done to improve this part of their security.
IT’s response: Ensure auditing of EHR access, along with considering both user behavior analytics and user-activity monitoring solutions.
IT’s response: Look for ways to electronically deliver statements, discharge papers, etc., to ensure they are only seen by the intended recipient.
IT’s response: Disk encryption is the easiest way to reduce the impact of stolen devices. Leveraging device management with an ability to remotely wipe a laptop would also be helpful in preventing these scenarios from happening.
IT’s response: Employing a privileged access management (PAM) solution enables you to retain all privileged passwords within a secure vault. Also, using password rotation after each use is a simple way to make any stolen credentials nearly unusable by the time an attacker gets their hands on them.
IT’s response: Security awareness training provides organizations with a means by which to train users on the current trends; this can also involve testing them using fake phishing emails, and reporting on where the organization is weakest. By frequently utilizing such a service, you can help create a culture of security within the organization and pinpoint where additional training is necessary.
The Verizon report highlights a number of key areas healthcare organizations need to focus on. In nearly all cases, none of the responses involve manual work—they all require the use of some kind of third-party solution to ensure a consistent, watchful security presence. By looking at these five deficient areas of security and putting together a plan to heighten IT’s security focus on each, you will reduce the risk of malware infection, successful cyberattack, ransomware, data breach, and insider threat.
Nick Cavalancia has over 20 years of enterprise IT experience and is an accomplished executive, consultant, trainer, speaker, and columnist. He has authored, co-authored and contributed to over a dozen books on Windows, Active Directory, Exchange and other Microsoft technologies. Nick has also held executive positions at ScriptLogic, SpectorSoft and Netwrix and now focuses on the evangelism of technology solutions.
Follow Nick on Twitter at @nickcavalancia
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