Healthcare data security is one of the single most important elements of HIPAA compliance, and it’s also one of the biggest challenges facing organizations today.

There have been over 220 reported healthcare data breaches in 2018 alone, with tallies from the past few years combined reaching into the thousands. With a single breach costing hundreds of dollars per stolen record, it’s easy to see why so many healthcare organizations are lagging in digital and mobile technology adoption – they’re hesitant to become the next headline of healthcare data security flaws.

There’s a Dark Market for Stolen Healthcare Data

Stolen health records pose a serious threat, both to the patient and to the health organization. Though fetching a smaller price than financial records, health data is an in-demand product in the right marketplace.

For the attacker, the incentive is clear: healthcare data has become a source of revenue on the dark web or black market. But for the buyer, motivations remain unclear as to how they use the data or why they need it.

However, the fact remains that healthcare data can prove to be more valuable than financial information, which is one reason why it’s become a target of interest for attackers. Once a credit card number is stolen, its usefulness can quickly expire as cardholders can close accounts and open new ones to mitigate their risk. Healthcare data isn’t so easily perishable.

It’s important for organizations to realize the value of the data they’re entrusted to protect. Whether or not you understand how the data is utilized by black market buyers is irrelevant: all you need to know is that it’s valuable to someone, and they will seize every opportunity possible to obtain it.

Complications of Data Security in Healthcare

HIPPA compliance complicates healthcare data security for healthcare organizations, so the industry is relatively lagging in its security compared to other fields. In many cases, organizations are taking an approach that rushes to fix previous issues in their security, but don’t always recognize opportunities to prevent new issues from occurring.

For example, the emergence of digitally connected medical devices (smartphone apps, insulin pumps, heart rate monitors, etc) opened a whole new area for healthcare security experts to explore. The technological diversity of these devices make them vulnerable for data exploitation, or worse, death to the people relying on these devices for medical care.

Rather, it’s better to focus not just on fixing known issues, but also continually preparing for technology’s rapid advancement. Covering issues only in hindsight can be catastrophic to organizations, both in the short- and long-term.

How to Combat Healthcare Data Security Threats

It takes a proactive stance against security threats in order to protect your patients and organizations.

Given that over 90% of cyber attacks stem from infected emails, it’s imperative that organizations deliver ongoing training to its employees on the importance of data security and how to achieve it.

For more complex security threats, IT teams and leadership should be continually vigilant of any gaps in defense. As new systems and technology are implemented, organizations must ensure that any vulnerabilities are identified, assessed, and eliminated.

The cost of risk associated with healthcare data security is too high to ignore. Let Lifepoint help you achieve better security and control over your healthcare data – contact us today for more information.