Hacking, Phishing, Ransomware, and overall Data Breaches are on the rise. Lately, with every advancement we make with data security, hackers find a way through.
In this blog, we discuss the importance of keeping your data secure. We will use Medical Offices for some examples, but this information crosses over to every industry. If you use cloud storage, proprietary software, and store personal data, this blog holds valuable information for you.
Your Clients Put Their Trust in You
Medical professionals are entrusted with caring for the health of their patients. And also for keeping their personal information private. Given this fact, it’s no wonder that physicians are looked at as the most trustworthy people in our communities.
However, on the other end of the spectrum, hackers actively look to take advantage of stored information. All businesses, including medical practices and hospital systems, accumulate loads of data over the years. But the questions arise, why are medical records so valuable, and what can be done to protect them?
Richer Than You Think
Medical databases are consistently top targets for hackers. We’re seeing more and more breaches taking place each year. CBS News reported that while a social security number may be worth $1 and a credit card number worth $110 on the dark web (average numbers), a single medical record can be worth a whopping $1000 or more!
Typically, your medical records have more personal information than any other source out there. This may include your social security number, address, phone number, banking information, personal contact info, and a lot more. With so much at play, it’s no surprise why hackers are focusing more on these records than any other.
Who’s Bears the Responsibility?
Everyone in the healthcare industry in the US is aware that HIPAA laws prevent sharing medical information except under particular circumstances. What if that information left your hands and was spread involuntarily? Although it may be a gray area, there’s still the strong likelihood that the medical office could be held liable, at least in a civil court. Especially if they haven’t done everything possible to avoid the hack. Don’t forget that data breaches cost the healthcare industry upwards of $6 billion per year.
How to Protect Your Data— and Yourself
Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are used by the medical industry to avoid such situations. One way we do this is by helping Medical customers when it comes time to update ICD codes, (International Classification of Diseases). This is tricky since HIPPA approved systems aren’t always the easiest to upgrade. Not only is the computer update important, but the people updates are as well.
Also, there is plenty for your MSP to do in helping you avoid HIPAA violations. For instance, any device used that contains or has access to patient information needs to be encrypted. In 2016, one iPhone that was lost at a single facility ended up creating a $650,000 fine. Remember, it’s not your fault when a device is lost or stolen — it is your fault if you failed to encrypt the information beforehand. This is great advice for any business.
In a similar vein, when you dispose of older devices, you can’t just toss them in a dumpster and go about your day. These devices must be wiped clean in a more substantial way than simply deleting records. While that might be acceptable if you want to dispose of your personal devices, those who understand computers can quickly get access to files that weren’t properly deleted. A good MSP can help you with this step as part of their standard service.
Who Watches the Watchers?
Where you store your data is also a major part of data security. As we previously mentioned, some medical practices have used standard cloud storage and paid a heavy price when data was breached. While it’s true that cloud storage is a inexpensive option, it’s possible to lose track of what is stored where. Unless you use a top-of-the-line service, your data will be prime targets for hackers. After all, why go after an individual when you can get data from thousands of companies at once through a cloud service?
Even if you decide to go with local storage, who has access to your data? With the genuine value of these records along with the absolute risk of liability, if things go sour, you need to be very careful about who gets access to the database. MSPs make sure that not only will your information be safe, but that the people who oversee your database have all the proper education and certifications to avoid any problems down the line.
Let’s get real here. Technology is advancing at breakneck speeds. Data security is exactly the same. As hackers become more and more advanced, MSPs must stay one step ahead of them to protect their clients. That’s why we make it a point to continually train our team on new security options and protocols.
If you don’t have a robust security plan in place for your office or business, don’t wait to give us a call. Every moment you’re not protected is a moment of opportunity for a pirate to rob you and your client’s trust and confidence.
If your organization is starting to fall behind due to a lack of attention to your IT, contact us today. Our expert team will be more than happy to evaluate your needs and help you implement and maintain the most reasonable and secure solutions.