3 Ways to Ensure Data Security in Healthcare

Although the internet is becoming the preferred means of data transfer, many employees still utilize detachable devices such as USBs or external hard drives to copy significant volumes of information or large files.

3 Ways to Ensure Data Security in Healthcare
Health data is kept locally on work computers becomes insecure and prone to theft. (File)

By Filip Cotfas

In recent years, the use of technology in healthcare has become the norm across the medical business. With the rising usage of medical software and the increased importance of health care data, it is vital improving patient information security. While security has long been a major problem in health care information technology, substantial steps have recently been achieved to tighten up the protection of crucial data. 

Healthcare services must have a comprehensive data security plan that protects sensitive information from both external and internal threats to maintain compliance and avoid other expenses connected with data breaches such as lost business and reputational harm. Let’s take a deeper look at how they can do so.

(a) Handle Internal Threats:

The healthcare industry suffers from an especially high level of employee carelessness. Human error accounts for 27 percent of its breaches, one of the highest rates across all businesses. Employees are also the underlying cause of 27% of harmful occurrences, as they fall prey to phishing and social engineering attempts or seek to steal data themselves. This is problematic since most health data is required by law to be encrypted or sent through secure, authorized means before leaving an organization’s facilities. To restrict the movement of sensitive health data into and out of their networks, healthcare providers might use Data Loss Prevention (DLP) technologies.

DLP technologies are designed to directly safeguard sensitive data, employ established profiles and customizable definitions to manage and regulate sensitive data. DLP systems may discover health data in files and the body of emails before they are delivered using advanced content inspection and contextual scanning technologies, preventing it from being sent through unauthorized channels.

(b) Restrict access to data

Health data is kept locally on work computers becomes insecure and prone to theft. Employees often access, store, and download sensitive data while doing their duties, and they may neglect to remove these files when they are no longer required. This poses a substantial danger to data security and compliance efforts. DLP systems may search the whole corporate network for sensitive data stored locally, and if it is located in unauthorized areas, administrators can take remedial steps such as deletion or encryption. Thus, healthcare providers may ensure that no employee retains access to sensitive data that they no longer require.

Having said that, employee training is also vital. Employees are still getting accustomed to health care information technology, which is still in its early phases of implementation. To protect the security of health care data, policies and processes must be modified to accommodate the digitalization of patient records. Security awareness training may help your staff better spot possible security dangers and make more informed decisions. This form of training can encourage users to use adequate caution while handling patient data. Teaching all new and existing personnel about current data security protocols is critical.

(c) Control removable Devices:

Although the internet is becoming the preferred means of data transfer, many employees still utilize detachable devices such as USBs or external hard drives to copy significant volumes of information or large files. However, these gadgets are readily misplaced or stolen due to their small size. Worse, USBs, in particular, have been popular weapons for malware assaults in recent years. They have the option of completely prohibiting their usage or limiting it to authorised devices. This allows healthcare providers to trace which employee is using which device at what time, making it easier to detect unusual network behaviour and potential data theft.

Healthcare firms should go the additional mile and utilize an enforced encryption solution to ensure data protection. Lastly, in the case of a data breach, it is critical that you halt information theft as soon as the leak is discovered. For that purpose, implementing an incident response plan (IRP) can help prevent the attacker from causing more damage. Create a rapid reaction architectural framework that can activate predefined protocols to stop a hacker in his tracks. Make sure to train all new and current staff on the security processes in place so that they can respond quickly if a breach happens.

(The author is Channel Manager, CoSoSys. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of FinancialExpress.com.)

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