Medical firms have quickly become major targets of cyberattacks making the healthcare industry one of the most vulnerable victims of cyber-attacks. And the increase in telehealth care options? They have had incredible benefits; however, it has also created more opportunities for cybercriminals to attack, making it even more critical that medical firms act now to protect themselves.

To help protect your medical firm against any cyber threats, we’ve come up with 5 steps you need to take now.

Why Medical Firms?

First, let’s break down why cyber criminals are one of the top victims of cybercrime…

Patients trust medical firms with valuable and confidential information. On top of that, the nature of their work quite literally involves life-or-death situations, so if a cyberattack were to occur, medical firms minimal very leeway to work around it, giving cybercriminals the upper hand (and they know it!).

Some of the other main reasons include:

  • The medical industry has a large attack surface
  • Their data is connected to people’s day-to-day lives
  • A lot of the data is time-critical
  • Health care professionals can’t afford to lose data for long so are more likely to pay the ransom
  • Many firms use aging and incohesive operating systems, making it easier for cybercriminals to exploit

So, what type of data are cybercriminals looking for? Pretty much everything and anything…

  • Patient health records
  • Intellectual property (medical research data)
  • Clinical trials data
  • Personal identifying information
  • Billing information (insurance claims)
  • Administrative data

The saying “knowledge is power” is true. It’s time to take the right proactive steps to make sure that knowledge (and power) stays within your business.

1. Develop a ‘Zero Trust’ Mindset

Gone are the days when we’re questioning ‘if’ our business will fall victim to a cyber-attack – now we’re now asking ‘when’. With remote working and telehealth becoming more common, yet cyber threats rapidly evolving, medical firms cannot afford to trust anyone or anything.

Establishing a strong security culture early on is extremely important and it all starts by moving past the “it can’t happen to us” mindset. It can happen to anyone.

If your medical firm is developing this strategy, ensure you:

  • Assume all network activity has the potential to be malicious (and act accordingly)
  • Plan for worst-case-scenario events
  • Monitor and maintain all of your systems day and night
  • Always verify user access
  • Create a Zero Trust solution that is unique to your particular medical firm

Did you know that 90-95% of cyber security breaches are a result of human error? Your staff can be your greatest risk, but if your team has strong cyber awareness training, that number is greatly reduced. They can be your best defence against an attack!

Since the cyber threat landscape is continuously evolving, your medical firm’s practices and training need to evolve with it (and stay ten steps ahead). Schedule regular security awareness training sessions that prepare them for any new threats that have surfaced.

A part of your training should include simulated phishing attacks that use real-world scenarios. This will give you a better understanding of how prepared your medical firm is, and what areas need improving, and will have a greater chance of changing behaviours.

Password Management Tools are excellent ways for the medical industry to strengthen its first line of defence against cyber threats.

This software is like a digital vault that generates strong and secure passwords for users, saves them in one place, and allows the admin to control access. With remote work and using mobile devices for work increasing, this has never been more important.

Remember to change your passwords regularly!

4. Stay Up to Date

We all know how fast the IT world moves. One minute there’s an app available and the next there’s a recommended update. Health experts have started to incorporate new technologies such as medical IoT, tablets, smartphones and more. This is great, but it also creates new opportunities for cybercriminals to ‘hack’ into a device, especially when they haven’t been updated.

In order for medical firms to stay cyber-strong, they need to manage and maintain their devices and systems by performing regular and ongoing updates. These updates patch up the potential loopholes in a system, resecuring them from cyber threats.

5. Have an Ongoing Cyber Security Strategy

Cyber security will no longer be a ‘set and forget’ implementation. It takes ongoing time investments and insights to ensure you are reducing your risks to maintain business continuity. If you don’t have the internal resources to build and deliver on a cyber security strategy, you can partner with a Managed Security Services Provider like ONGC to guide your through this process in a manner that helps you reduce risk.

Over to You

Cybercrime is on the rise in the health care industry, but your business doesn’t have to suffer. If you know what you know now, you’ve already made a start. If your medical firm is looking for some help, talk to us today.