Proven Strategies for Healthcare Cybersecurity

  
  

 

Telemedicine, mobile applications, electronic health records (EHRs), and numerous other technologies are critical to the healthcare industry. While the Internet of Things (IoT) has allowed healthcare to reach patients in new and beneficial ways, connectivity to the World Wide Web inherently increases an organization’s risk of experiencing a devastating cyber attack. 

To help mitigate cybersecurity risks, the Department of Health and Humans Services (HHS) has released the publication Health Industry Cybersecurity Practices (HICP): Managing Threats and Protecting Patients, a game changer that the industry has been awaiting for nearly two years. This document aims to be the standard by which the healthcare industry should model its approach to prioritizing cybersecurity measures and reducing IT risk. 

The document offers insight into the current challenges faced by the sector, identifies healthcare-specific vulnerabilities, and details best practices for defending against advanced threats, such as ransomware, loss or theft of equipment or data, and internal malicious activity. Armed with this information, healthcare providers of all sizes are able to improve their approaches to cybersecurity with tried and true strategies encompassing the following areas:

  • E-mail protection systems
  • Endpoint protection systems
  • Access management
  • Data protection and loss prevention
  • Asset management
  • Network management
  • Vulnerability management
  • Incident response
  • Medical device security
  • Cybersecurity policies

Cybersecurity has become an essential part of healthcare in the modern age, when safeguarding IT assets means protecting not only data, but also the physical wellbeing of patients. With the release of the HICP, the HHS further underscores the importance and inextricability of effective cybersecurity and successful patient care.