Healthcare organizations are amongst the most susceptible for online attacks. In 2017, the Health Care Industry Cybersecurity Task Force issued a report to Congress claiming that healthcare cybersecurity is in ‘critical condition’. Nearly five years later, this analysis remains true. A recent study performed by the HIPAA Journal found that more than 40 million healthcare records were exposed to hackers between July 2020 and June 2020. As these attacks become more common, hospitals, physicians’ offices, and laboratories across the country are looking to protect themselves and their patients.
There are many reasons why healthcare institutions are prime targets for some of the most severe breaches. According to the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange, a primary reasons for this is “a chronic underinvestment [in healthcare cybersecurity that] has left many so exposed that they are unable to detect cyber-attacks when they occur”. Luckily, several high-profile attacks has forced institutions to take notice and begin allocating resources towards strengthening internal IT departments and cybersecurity teams. Take a closer look at why care facilities are expected to spend $65 billion on cybersecurity over the next five years.
Private Patient Information Is Valuable to Attackers
An immense amount of confidential data exists on hospital databases. The plethora of data available is valuable to attackers that can sell it on the black market. This has made healthcare facilities a growing target for security breaches. As hospitals also store patient information on an extensive network of medical devices, hackers have many entry points for accessing proprietary data.
Healthcare Cybersecurity Attacks Affect Patients Negatively
When a healthcare cybersecurity attack occurs, doctors are often unable to access necessary patient data. This can often times delay treatment or force them to reschedule appointments altogether. In the healthcare industry specifically, there is a ton at stake for patients and providers. Furthermore, debilitating operations is harmful from a business perspective as well. When systems malfunction due to security breaches, payments cannot be processed and critical communication between staff ceases across the organization. When all of these factors are considered, it’s clear why healthcare cybersecurity is becoming a primary concern for many institutions.
Remote Access of Information Is Necessary
With COVID-19 affecting nearly every industry in the country, many workers have been forced to continue working in a remote or hybrid fashion. While healthcare staff is generally required to be onsite to care for patients, those who need to access information often do so while they are away from their desk. However, connecting to a network remotely from new devices is risky, as not all devices are secure. Anytime staff needs to access data in this way, it opens facilities up to more opportunities for an attack. Furthermore, hospital staff are rarely educated on the best practices for healthcare cybersecurity.
Cyberattacks May Destroy Reputations
No consumer likes to be involved in a data beach. Due to the amount of data that patients provide to their hospital, exposing these individuals to a healthcare cybersecurity attack will drastically decrease their trust in an organization. The public is becoming increasingly aware of cyberattacks on the healthcare sector and are actively taking precautions to keep their information safe. When an institution is involved in one of these incidences, their reputation amongst patients is bound to take a hit.
Recovering From Data Breaches Is Expensive
Not on are healthcare institutions more susceptible to cyber-attacks, they pay a much larger price for these breaches compared to other industries. A report completed by IBM Security found that the average healthcare security breach cost an average of $9.23 million on average, up from about $7 million last year. Additionally, the average time to detect and contain a breach was 287 days. Being proactive about healthcare cybersecurity is important in order to avoid an expensive and long-winded recovery process.
While all businesses are susceptible to cyberattacks in our digital age, hospitals have a special responsibility to keep their highly sensitive data secure. Cyberattacks are expensive, disrupt operations, and can damage the reputation of an institution for decades. With data security breaches on the rise, it’s absolutely imperative for healthcare organizations to increase their spending on protecting themselves and their patients. Upgrading healthcare technology is also vital to prevent bugs and potential cyber threats.
At ACCi, we understand how important healthcare cybersecurity is for hospitals, physicians’ offices, and all other care facilities. Since 1989, we have worked extensively with these organizations upgrading and strengthening their systems and drastically reducing the probability of attacks on valuable patient data. Many healthcare institutions aren’t aware of their vulnerabilities until its too late. Contact us today (205-987-8711) for a Rapid Security Assessment and more information on our available services.