The shift toward digital solutions for managing patient data may be contributing to the increasing volume of security breaches in healthcare, a recent report suggested.

According to the “2018 Thales Data Threat Report,” 70 percent of healthcare organizations around the world have experienced a data breach. The survey, which included responses from approximately 1,200 global security professionals, also found that 55 percent of healthcare companies feel either “extremely” or “very vulnerable” to cyberattacks.

Technology Adoption Drives Up Security Breaches in Healthcare

Like almost every other industry sector, healthcare organizations have been adopting new technologies to boost productivity, cut down costs, improve communication and solve problems. Infosecurity Magazine noted that 93 percent of firms in the Thales study said they are using analytics software to manage big data, hosting data in the cloud or leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT) in some way. Security breaches may be on the rise simply because there are more points of vulnerability for cybercriminals to target.

Medical records often include data that is more valuable that credit card information, ComputerWeekly reported. Although 70 percent of healthcare professionals who responded to the Thales survey said that adhering to regulation and compliance requirements is an “extremely” or “very” effective way to avoid security breaches, it’s obviously not keeping all electronic health records and personal health information safe.

Insider Threats on the Rise

Thales isn’t the only firm taking a closer look at this sector. Verizon’s “2018 Protected Health Information Data Breach Report (PHIDBR)” revealed that nearly 6 in 10 security breaches in healthcare stem from either malicious or negligent employees. Another study from consulting firm Accenture found that nearly a quarter of U.S. healthcare employees know of at least one co-worker who had illegally sold usernames, passwords or other private information to unauthorized outsiders.

While insider threats are common in many other markets, the Verizon report noted that 70 percent of security breaches in healthcare that involved malicious code were ransomware attacks. Ransomware campaigns frequently target unsuspecting users, suggesting a need for increased security awareness and employee education.

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