5 Steps to Protect Your Healthcare Organization's Data

Rapidly escalating risk of cyberattacks means that healthcare organizations need to prioritize data. Take steps to protect your healthcare organization with these 5 tips.

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HIPAA compliance is the starting point of your cybersecurity program but not the end. Medical records must remain in the hands of authorized personnel to ensure HIPAA compliance. As a best practice, healthcare organizations and external partners should lockdown file sharing, leverage file purging when applicable, and keep record sharing within the web browser whenever possible. All file sharing should adhere to HIPAA’s minimum necessary standard, using the most restrictive share settings possible.

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Safe File Sharing

HIPAA compliance is the starting point of your cybersecurity program but not the end. Medical records must remain in the hands of authorized personnel to ensure HIPAA compliance. As a best practice, healthcare organizations and external partners should lock down file sharing, leverage file purging when applicable, and keep record sharing within the web browser whenever possible. All file sharing should adhere to HIPAA’s minimum necessary standard, using the most restrictive share settings possible.

Educate your workplace


Every member of your organization is responsible for cybersecurity. According to Forbes, 40% of healthcare workers receive little to no training in data protection; hospitals are wide open to small phishing attacks that can lead to significant data breaches. A starting point is to train your organization on password and passphrase techniques, check the authenticity of websites/links and communicate and report suspicious activity. Consider asking your external partners to hold their teams to your higher standards to secure your processes further.

Cybersecurity Meetings


Dedicated cybersecurity meetings are an excellent process to help a company go over potential security threats and review who has access to company systems over time. These meetings typically include organizational leadership and directors and review how system changes and upcoming events may impact security with staff members. The initial work is worth the effort, and your team can cut the meetings down to as little as 15 minutes once you find your rhythm.

Automation


According to Healthtech Magazine, widespread IT staff shortages negatively impact healthcare data security. Since phishing and malware attacks often rely on human error to gain access to crucial systems, eliminating the stages of human decision-making in your company’s workflow can reduce security risks. Dual authentication, automated file purging, and IP whitelisting are all effective ways of automating security while reducing the workload on staff.

Finding a Cybersecurity Partner 


Implementing automated security measures can often be a significant technical and time-consuming task. According to Healthtech Magazine, partnerships with cybersecurity firms can help health systems be more aware of emerging technologies and vulnerabilities and save the healthcare staff time deploying technologies. With the help of security partners, organizations can find a cost-effective strategy to lock down their network. Ask your potential cybersecurity partners for their security whitepaper, which outlines their processes, best practices, and services.

Secure Data as a Goal for Your Medical Organization’s Cybersecurity

Overall, these points represent best practices, but the needs of your healthcare organization may vary. Security framework standards and HIPAA compliance are great starting points, but the work doesn't end there. Consistent, proactive optimization of your cybersecurity program will help safeguard your data against new and existing threats.

Tim Walsh

Tim Walsh

Chief Technology Officer

Tim leads the Medplace technology team and oversees the development of the platform. Over his decade plus of experience, he has served as a jack-of-all-trades developer and held leadership roles at various education and technology ventures.

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