Cybersecurity Best Practices in Healthcare Industry

Ensuring cybersecurity in the healthcare industry is very crucial. Healthcare facilities keep vulnerable patient data which is an important target for cybercriminals. Since personal data became more and more crucial over the years, hackers focused more on precious data types. Health data is one of the vulnerable data to hackers. Because health data can be sold at high prices on the Internet. This is why cybercriminals now aim at health data and the healthcare industry must upgrade its cybersecurity solutions. 

While implementing cybersecurity measures, industries should realize who they are and what type of risks they might face. This approach can help them to understand their current situations and decide on what to do for their online security. 

The first concern may be the internal data leakage threats. Most data holders assume that malicious attacks or data leakages only can come from outside but they are wrong. Protecting data resources from outsiders is not adequate for total cybersecurity. So, they need to try more comprehensive practices that can protect them from both inside and outside leakages. 

Cybersecurity of Healthcare Industry: Best Practices 

  • Zero Trust Security 

From the healthcare industry perspective, credential security and access privileges are the main concerns of cybersecurity. Unauthorized access, redundant privileges, and predetermined trust for inside users are the main mistakes. All these wrong practices put healthcare industries’ cybersecurity on the line. But, a proper Zero Trust implementation keeps digital health data entities safe.

Zero Trust is a comprehensive framework. It comprises policies, authentication technologies, and authorization strategies. Zero Trust infrastructure audit, monitor, and assess all users regardless of network borders. This correlation provides a total identity and access security. 

The Main Idea of Zero Trust 

Zero Trust security prohibits the abuse of privileges. It embraces the idea that ‘‘trust none verify all’’. So, it considers all users untrustable and asks for credential authentication in every step. Username and the password alone, can not provide resource access in a Zero Trust infrastructure. Users should verify their identities multiple times.  Two-factor authentication and multi-factor authentication are the foremost techniques that Zero Trust uses. 

Comprehensive identity authentication and the least privileges prevent data resources from unnecessary access. When only required users reach health data resources, the risk zone narrows. Because Zero Trust prohibits lateral movement which poses a risk for the spread of damage. Even if a breach occurs in one segment, authentication walls protect it from spreading. 

Importance of Zero Trust in the Healthcare Industry 

There is a steady growth in health data breaches. The pandemic has a share in this growth. Pandemic forces facilities to keep their data in the cloud. Due to this, health data resources that are kept online have accelerated. This situation poses a great risk to online cyber security. 

According to the Statista Research Department, hacking is the main cause of data breaches in the US. Approximately 46 data breach incidents have occurred every month in 2021. It is more than 2020 when compared. This number reflects the importance of health data security in today’s world. A good understanding of workflow and managing users, networks, and devices with a Zero Trust mentality are substantial. It can make the health industry compatible with modern cybersecurity requirements. 

Health data resources are at the top of the list of those who will be attacked. But healthcare industries can avoid it. Facilities can protect their patient data by implementing a Zero Trust network in healthcare

Other Benefits of Zero Trust Infrastructure in the Healthcare Industry 

Zero Trust assigns roles to each and every user. This provides access management and robust monitoring. You can assess user behaviors and be informed about malicious activities. It also increases the user, device, and network visibility. All these escalate your vulnerable patient data administration.

There is no space for unidentified users in the Zero Trust network. For every step that users take, they need to confirm their credentials. Even if a hacker obtains a user password, the hacker can not move on in your network. Zero Trust also offers device identification. IT specialists or persons in charge can supervise device activities. If a suspicious activity has occurred in a device, the person can identify it and intervene before it is too late. 

  • User Education

When it comes to cybersecurity, the human factor is indisputable. Facilities can not negotiate on that. The best way to abolish human factors is to train network users. If they are aware of what they are doing and what kind of risks they might face, they can take more careful steps. 

To provide the best health data security, education should be systematic and effective. They need to be informed about how vulnerable the patient data is. Some of them may have further privileges and access permissions due to their roles in a facility. It is way more crucial for them to attend all training sessions and complete them successfully. 

  • Data Backups 

Until here, measures were mentioned. But, there is another concern on what facilities can do after a breach. Health data must be protected from leakages and there must be a compensation method. Data should be available even after a breach. Because healthcare facilities should continue their work. If they can not reach data anymore, the health system stops and this leads to dreadful consequences. 

Regular data backup is a good solution to decrease damage. If a breach occurs in a facility, reputation, and financial loss are inevitable. At least, facilities can substitute it by continuing their healthcare operations. 

  • Comply with Legal Regulations 

Being compatible with legal regulations is a good way to escalate your cybersecurity. There are various regulations for different professions. In terms of the healthcare industry, HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) takes the lead. 

This Act aims to protect personal health information (PHI). It contains provisions about documentation, staff training, creating procedures, and annual risk assessments. If a healthcare facility obeys the rules of HIPAA, it can enhance cybersecurity. Because it enables healthcare facilities to become safe in an online environment. 

Final Thoughts 

The Healthcare Industry has become one of the most attractive places for hackers. There is no possibility to avoid health data breaches. But the healthcare industry can protect itself from huge damages by implementing cybersecurity best practices. In this context, Zero Trust offers a high quality of protection. Making healthcare facilities compatible with the Zero Trust mentality can lessen data leakages and provide holistic protection. On the other hand, other solutions such as staff education, being legally compatible, and data backup must be considered to move healthcare data protection to the top.