There is a growing trend of cybercriminals targeting healthcare organisations – often to steal medical and patient data, but also for far more malicious reasons. This creates a dilemma for providers who want to protect the privacy and safety of their patients, but still need to deliver quality patient care.
Here are some essential security tactics that will help to protect your healthcare SMB from cyber threats.
Secure printers and other devices
Many office cybersecurity plans focus on an organisation’s PCs, laptops and servers, and ignore an increasingly important threat vector: printers, scanners and other network-connected devices. It’s important to remember that these devices are also fully functional computers – making them potential targets for hackers who want to access your healthcare systems and records.
You can prevent such a breach by making sure that employees and other staff:
- Enable data encryption (e.g. SSL) on print jobs that are sent over the organisation’s LAN or wireless LAN (WLAN)
- Set up the device’s access control list (ACL) to block unauthorised devices or networks
- Use the pull-print feature, which requires entering a PIN on the device to complete the print job
Another area of concern for healthcare organisations stems from the growth in internet-connected medical devices, such as blood oxygen meters, insulin pumps and medical scanners. A hacker gaining control of such a device could potentially endanger the lives of your patients and hold your organisation to ransom.
Ensure that you closely follow the vendor’s security protocols, and apply security updates and patches to the device as soon as they’re available. The best safeguard is to unplug them from the network when they’re not in use.
Use firewalls and antivirus software
A medical practice that uses an internet-connected health record system should also have a firewall that protects it against outside intrusions. Software firewalls are effective and easy to set up, but a hardware firewall provides stronger security if you have several or more computers in your network.
Ransomware and malware are among the biggest threats facing healthcare organisations, according to a recent study by the Ponemon Institute. To keep these threats at bay, make sure every staff member is running anti-virus software which is constantly updated with the latest malware definitions.
Control access to patient information
When it comes to controlling access to sensitive information, your passwords are critical. Your password policy should encourage staff to use a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, punctuation, numbers and symbols.
Another highly recommended security feature is user access control, which only allows staff to access individual records on a ‘need to know’ basis. Important medical information should also be protected by two-factor authentication, where each password is supplemented with a single-use code generated by another device, such as a smartphone or e-token.
Recent research by Grand View predicts that the Asia Pacific market for connected medical devices will have 30 percent compound annual growth between now and 2022 – making cybersecurity awareness in the healthcare industry more important than ever. These tips will help ensure that your practice is able to prevent and curtail cyber-attacks quickly and effectively.
To find out more about how Brother products have helped the healthcare industry visit our corporate solutions website