Many healthcare professionals are deeply concerned about the security of their IT infrastructure. With the frequent occurrences of cyber and ransomware attacks, it’s vital for your organization to have a solid strategy for preventing and responding to attacks on your healthcare information system. Here’s how to start improving data security in your organization.
1. Conduct a Detailed Security Audit
A security audit will evaluate your entire IT infrastructure including the network, applications, cloud storage, processes, and procedures in order to expose all vulnerabilities. To obtain the highest return on your investment, you should consult professionals who are familiar with common vulnerabilities in healthcare information systems. But prior to that, you can do an internal audit by:
- Defining your threats
- Creating a risk score
- Assessing your security performance
In addition, it’s a good move to keep your applications up-to-date, install all security patches, and use the most secure user authentication protocols.
2. Develop a Security Culture
You can make security an integral part of your corporate culture by involving every employee that handles data. From your most senior IT staff to the receptionist, everyone should be conscious of security threats and how to prevent them. All IT administrators and users need to know that security threats change with time. So, what appears very secure today may not be secure against threats that appear tomorrow.
3. Educate and Train All Employees
Let all employees and your vendors participate regularly in HIPAA training and other healthcare related data security training. Regardless of the role an employee plays, educate them about how the IT infrastructure works and why they must do their best to keep it secure.
- Train them to identify things like phishing attempts, suspicious emails, and attachments
- They must know who to contact immediately when they discover a security threat
- Users should be aware that just clicking on a malicious link to a hacker’s site or downloading an infected attachment can infect the entire organization’s network with malware or ransomware
4. Verify Your Vendor’s Security Practices
It’s important to trust your vendor’s competence and security practices. But you must do your due diligence.
- Check their certificates and other credentials before you start working with them
- Confirm their commitment to complying with all HIPAA security and privacy regulations
- Document an agreement that the company will adhere to strict data security regulations and guidelines to protect your clients and your company
5. Be Prepared for Any Data Breach
Create a plan to respond promptly to any emergency due to a data breach or potential IT risk. The plan should contain all the steps to deal with any damage caused by malware, ransomware or a hacking incident. The plan should state:
- The employees to notify
- The best way to reach them
- Priority actions to take
- How to keep a log of all actions taken
For a recovery plan to be effective, you must keep regular backups onsite and in the cloud, and develop a plan for quick restoration of the central server and database.
Do You Need to Boost Your Health IT Security?
Call 877.522.8378 to schedule a free consultation and discover how to boost the security of healthcare data in your organization. Lifepoint Informatics has the expertise required to help you avoid data breaches and eliminate the risk of losing millions of dollars due to regulatory infractions.