Healthcare Cybersecurity: How to Prevent a Complete Medical Meltdown

Falling victim to cybersecurity can happen to anyone at any given time – leaving your medical practice at risk for the safety of those whose case sensitive information have been stolen. Thus, it’s absolutely paramount that certain cybersecurity measures are put in place before you become the next healthcare cybersecurity risk.

Remember, prevention is better than trying to find a cure, especially when you’re dealing with the safety of your patients and important financial documentation which may result in having to close the doors to your medical practice.

Keep the following tips in mind when trying to prevent a complete medical meltdown in the form of a healthcare cybersecurity breach:

Initiate regular software updates.

Having an adequate cybersecurity defense system will not only give you peace of mind that your medical practice is in good hands, you’ll also feel a sense of security from those who may want to harm your business in any way. However, failing to initiate regular software updates to your computer systems and antivirus programs will hinder your levels of cybersecurity – leaving you exposed to the elements and an easy target to cyber attackers.

Train staff on proper cybersecurity protocols.

In most cases, cyber attackers gain access to valuable data via uninformed staff members – opening certain emails containing links which, once opened, allows hackers to gain access to important financial documents and patient information. Thus, it’s highly important to train staff members on proper cybersecurity protocols in order to prevent common cybersecurity issues in healthcare.

Install adequate protection.

Not only is it paramount to install next-generation firewalls and deploy the latest anti-malware detection, it could mean the difference between keeping your medical practice running and having to close doors due to substantial financial loss. As with any business, a medical practice has to maintain a healthy flow of income in order to survive. With a substantial financial loss due to lawsuits and the disappearance of patients, you may end up damaging your reputation more than our pocket.

Perform regular risk assessments.

Knowing where your weak spots are will help you to identify which areas in your cybersecurity protection need to be improved. If you have an ‘IT guy’ who can perform regular risk assessments, you’re set. However, you may need to make use of external risk assessors to find cybersecurity weak spots. Also, don’t forget to make use of adequate cyber insurance for healthcare practices in order to ensure a backup plan in the unfortunate event that hackers gain access to your valuable data.

Keep access limited to certain individuals.

Since most malware attacks do occur due to negligent staff members, it may be worth looking into who has access to valuable data. It’s absolutely critical that ex-employees lose access to such information in order to prevent extortion; especially if you’re dealing with a disgruntled ex-employee. Remember, your data may receive an extra layer of protection simply by limiting the amount of staff who have access to important documentation.

With the recent WannaCry malware attack on numerous institutions, including the healthcare industry, it’s critical that the above-mentioned healthcare cybersecurity tips are put in place within a timely manner in order to prevent another healthcare security risk on data – ensuring that patient records are thoroughly protected and important financial documents are kept out of harm’s way. Remember, when it comes to protecting your business and those who trust you with their information, you can never be too careful.


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Andrew Payne joined McKenzie Ross in 1998 and has specialised in delivering solutions to professional industry associations in the areas of hospitality, print finishing, retail and construction. When he isn’t working, you can find him enjoying the local delicacies and lifestyle in Melbourne.