The health care market is quite heterogeneous, and as a result, each organization has a unique set of cybsersecurity needs and characteristics. The industry includes hospitals of all sizes, local doctoral consortia, public health care institutions and individual physicians. Naturally, health care security risks vary depending on the size and type of organization, but most institutions have at least one thing in common: Their core business goals rarely align with security policies.

Limited Resources and Lack of Leadership

In many cases, the IT department is required to implement archiving functions with very limited automation capabilities. The level of automation typically depends on the size of the organization. Individual practitioners often work from a single laptop, for example, while large hospitals have data centers equipped with many automated functions.

The same goes for service and security management: Larger data centers usually require the oversight of a chief information officer (CIO) and chief information security officer (CISO), while smaller organizations might employ only one or the other. The smallest companies might lack a security executive altogether, opting instead to delegate leadership to individual IT competencies.

Nevertheless, the information stored on health care organizations’ servers is highly sensitive compared to most other industries. Data related to patients’ health and billing records is extremely valuable to cybercriminals and often goes unprotected due to lack of investment in security. It’s no surprise, then, that the health care industry has suffered numerous high-profile attacks in recent months.

Emerging Health Care Security Risks

The health care sector must also deal with additional security wrinkles related to cloud adoption and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies. When managed appropriately, these services and devices can boost productivity for a health care organization. Unfortunately, this management often falls outside the scope of the organization’s core businesses, especially for companies that lack a CISO. In these cases, cloud services and personal devices are often adopted as a natural step without accounting for security risks.

Furthermore, health care networks are usually accessible 24/7, meaning they are exposed to cybercriminals at all times. Remediation efforts often lag behind while fraudsters compromise critical operations. In a worst-case scenario, these interruptions could be life-threatening to patients who require urgent medical care. This issue becomes even more complicated as more health care institutions adopt connected medical devices such as pacemakers.

Investing in Awareness and Technology

So how can health care organizations defend their networks and devices against cyberattacks? Regulations and policies can put a dent in security efforts, but the true cure for health care insecurity is increased awareness. All employees from the top down need to be educated about health care security risks as they relate to the medical services they provide. This requires proper investment in terms of both knowledge and technology.

More from Data Protection

Heads Up CEO! Cyber Risk Influences Company Credit Ratings

4 min read - More than ever, cybersecurity strategy is a core part of business strategy. For example, a company’s cyber risk can directly impact its credit rating. Credit rating agencies continuously strive to gain a better understanding of the risks that companies face. Today, those agencies increasingly incorporate cybersecurity into their credit assessments. This allows agencies to evaluate a company’s capacity to repay borrowed funds by factoring in the risk of cyberattacks. Getting Hacked Impacts Credit Scoring As per the Wall Street Journal…

4 min read

IBM Security Guardium Ranked as a Leader in the Data Security Platforms Market

3 min read - KuppingerCole named IBM Security Guardium as an overall leader in their Leadership Compass on Data Security Platforms. IBM was ranked as a leader in all three major categories: Product, Innovation, and Market. With this in mind, let’s examine how KuppingerCole measures today’s solutions and why it’s important for you to have a data security platform that you trust. The Transformation of the Data Security Industry As digital transformation continues to expand, the impact it has had on enterprises is very apparent when…

3 min read

SaaS vs. On-Prem Data Security: Which is Right for You?

2 min read - As businesses increasingly rely on digital data storage and communication, the need for effective data security solutions has become apparent. These solutions can help prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data, detect and respond to security threats and ensure compliance with relevant regulations and standards. However, not all data security solutions are created equal. Are you choosing the right solution for your organization? That answer depends on various factors, such as your industry, size and specific security needs. SaaS vs. On-Premises…

2 min read

Understanding the Backdoor Debate in Cybersecurity

3 min read - The debate over whether backdoor encryption should be implemented to aid law enforcement has been contentious for years. On one side of the fence, the proponents of backdoors argue that they could provide valuable intelligence and help law enforcement investigate criminals or prevent terrorist attacks. On the other side, opponents contend they would weaken overall security and create opportunities for malicious actors to exploit. So which side of the argument is correct? As with most debates, the answer isn't so…

3 min read