With governmental initiatives driving the adoption of electronic health records and other technology within the medical sector, digital health data is growing at a rapid pace. Organizations must abide by regulations such as the Health Information Portability and Accessibility Act while also implementing strong security measures to keep their networks safe. However, threats remain a significant concern, especially as cyberattacks become more sophisticated and persistent.
Health records: The next big target?
Experts have expressed concern that the medical industry has high potential as a target for cybercriminals' next big attack, stressing the need to establish stronger security through tools, policies, and processes. As Politico observed, the need to maintain privacy and confidentiality has taken precedence over focusing on security against hackers for many healthcare organizations—not to mention that the industry is fairly new to the digital game compared to the corporate world and others that have had years of experience working out security best practices.
"Hospitals are not spending a lot of time trying to make that information secure," House Intelligence Committee Mike Rogers said in an interview, according to the source. "They're trying to make sure there isn't a disclosure, which is absolutely appropriate, but that's not the same thing that someone on the outside, a hacker, can get in there and steal that information and use it for nefarious purposes."
Combating rising data breach threats
Although the healthcare industry hasn't seen a massive incident such as the Target attack that captured headlines for months and affected millions of consumers, data breaches within medical organizations have been on the rise. As eWEEK reported, a recent CORL Technologies study found that the majority of healthcare vendors were deficient in terms of minimum protection, with 58 percent scoring a "D" grade for their "culture of security."
Medical facilities also need to boost their strategies for securing mobile health tools, such as messaging and sharing information with colleagues over smartphones and other devices. According to a separate eWEEK article, a survey by IDG revealed that the healthcare sector is falling behind in terms of mobile device security (65 percent of respondents). Furthermore, the report indicated that the industry is struggling with data leakage monitoring.
To combat these challenges, healthcare organizations need both policies and tools to fortify their networks, devices, and activities against cyberattacks and other forms of data breaches. Secure file sharing tools, for example, that can be configured to meet regulatory requirements help these entities protect themselves while also upholding industry-specific stipulations.