Kenny Natiss

Cybersecurity in the Healthcare Industry

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One simple cyberattack can uncover personal patient data and interrupt vital treatments. It can prevent doctors from accessing patient information and can even make hospital equipment shut down.

It can — and has been — so devastating that there has been a call from the government to create a federal healthcare cybersecurity leader and introduce incentives that reward those who make significant steps to improve cybersecurity in healthcare. 

Some doctors were even turning away patients, all because of ransomware.

Kenny Natiss explains how it’s a problem that’s not going away anytime soon — and significant investments are being made to fight it. According to the most recent Healthcare Cybersecurity Report, the global market for healthcare cybersecurity will reach $125 billion by 2025, growing 15% every year between now and then. 

Cyber offense, including major data breaches and hacks, is finally leading to an aggressive cyber defense. 

Cybersecurity in Healthcare

Healthcare cybersecurity covers a range of techniques to protect the medical industry from internal and external cyberattacks.

Biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, healthcare providers in small offices and large medical corporations, medical device companies, and medical insurers are all coping with cyberattacks.

Cyberattacks in healthcare can compromise confidential patient information, the operation of medical equipment, and medical service availability

The reason for such safeguards is an enhanced frequency of healthcare industry cyberattacks. At the beginning of 2022, the government was by investigating 860 cybersecurity breaches.

One data breach impacted 3.25 million people. Such attacks usually cost the medical industry more than all other industries. In a report by the Ponemon Institute and IBM, the average cost of a healthcare cyberattack was $9.23 million. The average across all industries is $4.24 million.

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Why Healthcare Cybersecurity is Such a Challenge

When someone steals a debit card, it’s easy to cancel it and obtain a new one quickly. But if information about diseases or laboratory test results is leaked, there’s no way to make that disappear.

Adding to the difficulty is that myriad technology and digital networks exist within just one hospital or clinic. This includes everything from ventilation and heating systems to online prescription managers and infusion pumps. All can become the victim of a cyberattack and each one is susceptible to different forms of cyberattacks.

Experts have identified the most prominent data breach format concerns for healthcare facilities. It includes phishing, attacks focused on specific network vulnerabilities, and ransomware.

What Can Be Done to Strengthen Healthcare Cybersecurity

Creating a federal cybersecurity czar has potential, but experts agree that prevention starts closer to home. Individual healthcare providers or companies can integrate several types of preventative measures to fight cyber threats to digital networks and medical devices. 

These include types of IT and cybersecurity training for personnel, as well as setting control over who may access certain data and launching systems that alert a clinic or company when there is authorized access to patient files.

Advanced cryptography to encrypt forms of data appears to often be necessary as are strict access protocols, including PINs, retina recognition, and even fingerprint access.

By Kenny Natiss

Kenny Natiss