Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities Within the Healthcare Industry

Published on : 03 Feb 2022

Cybersecurity with healthcare industry

For several reasons, the healthcare industry is susceptible to cyberattacks and threats. More than often due to the poorly established security measures of storing sensitive information (like the ones that healthcare entities often maintain) can be a tantalizing prize for hackers of various kinds. Because of this, entities both large and small within the healthcare industry must allocate resources to better protect their digital systems and increase their cybersecurity measures to prevent attacks and breaches. On that note we have today shared the top 5 cybersecurity vulnerabilities that the healthcare industry should be aware of and prevent falling prey to such events.

Top Cyber Vulnerabilities

The healthcare industry is greatly exposed to various cyber threats. Although there are regulations in place to address these issues and tackle such events of cyber-attacks yet healthcare institutions need to be aware of the evolving threat landscape and establish effective preventive measures. So, here are some of the most significant ways that entities within the healthcare industry can be particularly vulnerable to cyber-attacks that you should be aware of.

Outdated Software Systems

Within the healthcare industry, a good number of software management systems are outdated or have been used without being updated for a long period of time. This means that the average healthcare entity is probably using software that does not have adequate safety and security features that match cyber criminals’ capabilities. When external threats innovate and internal security measures don’t, it can spell disaster. So, healthcare institutes need to be ahead of the game and regularly review their system and update software.

Lack of Cybersecurity Awareness

The healthcare industry represents thousands of individuals operating complicated software systems, collecting personal data, and working with large amounts of private information. The breadth of the industry and the sheer number of individuals who have access to restricted systems and sensitive information make breaches, mistakes, and password compromises relatively common. However, with proper training and awareness programs, the industry can prevent such incidents and compromises.

Data Manipulation and Misuse

This is a huge threat prevalent in the healthcare industry. Healthcare professionals collect large amounts of data to help make evidence-based decisions in their medical treatments. This makes accurate diagnoses and patient treatment possible. However, because so many professionals within the healthcare industry have access to large amounts of information, the possibility of data getting stolen and misuse of patient data is high. Threats are not always external – they can be internal as well. So, healthcare institutes must establish and enforce appropriate measures in terms of access controls, authorization, and other security measures to protect sensitive data and prevent data misuse and manipulations.

Patient Information Protection and Privacy Misdemeanors

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) outlines strict regulations for the correct and safe handling of Patient Information. Healthcare entities must adhere to these guidelines. They risk negative repercussions, including compromising patients’ safety and trust, if that information is mishandled or allowed into the wrong hands. So, here adhering to the HIPAA requirements is essential.

Limited Budget for Cybersecurity Provision

Other industries like banking and the corporate sector are more likely to allocate adequate resources to cybersecurity. This includes current, up-to-date software systems and implementation costs as well as salary and contracting expenses for cybersecurity professionals to help mitigate the risks of breaches and attacks. Healthcare entities often lag in applying adequate resources for cybersecurity and data safety, and this makes it more lucrative for hackers to attack the healthcare entities than in comparison with other sectors that are in general likely harder to breach.

Closing Thought

Healthcare professionals and organizations need to prioritize cybersecurity. In an age when cybersecurity threats translate into huge losses and lawsuits each year across every industry, it is important that entities ensure that sensitive data are adequately protected and secured. If you are a decision-maker within the healthcare industry, use the list above to assess your cybersecurity status and make changes where necessary to protect your system from dangerous and costly cyber-attacks.

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Narendra Sahoo
Narendra Sahoo

Narendra Sahoo (PCI QPA, PCI QSA, PCI SSF ASSESSOR, CISSP, CISA, CRISC, 27001 LA) is the Founder and Director of VISTA InfoSec, a global Information Security Consulting firm, based in the US, Singapore & India. Mr. Sahoo holds more than 25 years of experience in the IT Industry, with expertise in Information Risk Consulting, Assessment, & Compliance services. VISTA InfoSec specializes in Information Security audit, consulting and certification services which include GDPR, HIPAA, CCPA, NESA, MAS-TRM, PCI DSS Compliance & Audit, PCI PIN, SOC2 Compliance & Audit, PDPA, PDPB to name a few. The company has for years (since 2004) worked with organizations across the globe to address the Regulatory and Information Security challenges in their industry. VISTA InfoSec has been instrumental in helping top multinational companies achieve compliance and secure their IT infrastructure.