Cybersecurity Strategies for Healthcare

These cybersecurity strategies for healthcare will help you comply with HIPAA and reconcile the risk that connectivity brings.


The healthcare industry increasingly relies on technology such as telemedicine software, patient management platforms, and mobile applications for patient check-in and lab portals. Patients are more efficiently served with The Internet of Things (IoT) and advancements in medical devices. Still, connectivity inherently increases the risk of cyberattacks that can result in devastating data breaches.


Enable Configuration and Controls

Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems help to manage patient information, submit lab work, electronically prescribe, conduct billing, and much more. Unfortunately, they are also a prime target for bad actors who seek to sell valuable patient health records on the dark web. Further, Patient Health Information (PHI) is protected by HIPAA in such a way that each exposed record or infraction may cost $50,000 or more and even jail time.

Within the system, a user’s credentials allow secured access to PHI for that individual. Configure your EHR implementation and any accompanying software to grant access to users based on the zero-trust model or a need-to-know basis. Generally, these privileges can be configured as individual permissions or using role-based access control, in which a staff member’s role (i.e., doctor, nurse, or billing specialist) determines the accessible information.

Learn more about zero trust in our white paper, “Never Trust, Always Verify: The Future of Zero Trust Architecture.”


Foster a Culture of Security Awareness

A cybersecurity strategy for healthcare will not work if it isn’t fully implemented. Leaders must enforce policies and ensure users are effectively and frequently trained on security measures. Executives must instill a security-focused culture, and each person must subscribe to shared cybersecurity habits. Best practices for developing a culture of security awareness include:

  • Frequent, ongoing employee training
  • Strong buy-in and role modeling from executives
  • Accountability for information security
  • Perform regularly scheduled social engineering campaigns

For more in-depth information on security culture, see our white paper, “Unscammable: The Guide to Fostering a Culture of Security Awareness.”


Strategies for IoT and Mobile Devices in Healthcare

Mobile devices may untether Electronic Health Records (EHRs) from your desk, but they also increase the need for security in unique ways. Consider these complications of mobile devices:

  • Keep your device physically secure. IoT and mobile devices are easier to lose and more vulnerable to theft.
  • Take extra precautions to prevent unauthorized viewing of PHI.
  • Use strong authentication and access controls.
  • All wireless networks must be thoughtfully protected.
  • Never transmit health information across public networks without encryption.
  • IoT devices that cannot support encryption should not be connected to the patient health database.

For more advice on securing IoT devices, see our white paper, “The Future of IoT Security.”


Follow Industry Standards and Compliance Guidance

To mitigate cybersecurity risks, the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) released the publication Health Industry Cybersecurity Practices (HICP): Managing Threats and Protecting Patients, which aims to be the healthcare industry standard for reducing risk and prioritizing cybersecurity measures.

The document offers insight into security challenges, identifies vulnerabilities, and details best practices for defending against advanced threats, such as ransomware. Using this information, healthcare organizations can improve their approach to cybersecurity with proven strategies in 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

If you’d like to further explore healthcare compliance guidelines, you might be interested in our white paper, “Implementing the NIST Cybersecurity Framework in Healthcare.”


More Cybersecurity Strategies for Healthcare

As advancements in medical technology continue at an exceedingly rapid pace, healthcare organizations must also fine tune their approaches to protecting their patients, reputation, and bottom line. The intersection of regulations and technologies in the healthcare industry can be overwhelming and worse, open the door to a breach. Securance has helped many healthcare organizations with compliance, security assessments, risk management, governance models such as HIPAA and HITRUST. Contact us to see how we can help your organization.