Medical Practices Face The Growing Threat of Cybercrime

As your dental practice relies more and more on digital systems, the bigger target you become for cybercriminals. Is your practice properly secured? If not, then you may need expert help from a Spokane IT company.

How Can Medical Practices Protect Themselves From The Growing Threat of Cybercrime?

If you’re paying attention, you’ll have noticed that cybercrime is getting worse in the healthcare world. One of the Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights’ last monthly reports for 2019 found that:

  • October saw a 44% increase in cybercrime attacks on healthcare organizations month over month
  • 52 breaches occurred that month alone
  • Over 38 million healthcare records were breached in 2019

Take, for example, the mid-2019 attack when hundreds of dental practices across the US were infected with malware. Over the course of a single weekend, hackers penetrated the target systems, and by the time dental staff came in for work Monday morning, their patient data was inaccessible.

Instead of targeting the dental practices directly, hackers went after a digital “bottleneck” of sorts – the developers of software that so many practices use, DDS Safe. This medical record retention and backup solution is meant to help practices manage their patient data, but the hackers turned it against them.

The developers (The Digital Dental Records and PerCSoft) were the ones forced to pay the ransom, with their many dental clients putting pressure on them to restore their access to data. As is always the case, paying the ransom didn’t immediately solve the problem – the recovery process has been long and tedious.

Can you afford to be a victim of a similar attack?

Is Your Practice’s Staff A Cybersecurity Asset?

A majority of cybersecurity technologies offered today include the best in vital software, from firewalls to anti-malware to data encryption and more. However, as important as this technology is, on its own, it simply isn’t enough.

The key to truly comprehensive cybersecurity is simple, yet often overlooked: the user.

The best cybersecurity technology and practices in the world can be undone by one staff member who doesn’t understand how to use them, or how to protect the data they work with.

A comprehensive cybersecurity training program will teach your medical staff how to handle a range of potential situations:

  • How to identify and address suspicious emails, phishing attempts, social engineering tactics, and more.
  • How to use business technology without exposing data and other assets to external threats by accident.
  • How to respond when you suspect that an attack is occurring or has occurred.

Your staff can have a significant effect on your cybersecurity – either they know enough to keep your assets secure, or they don’t, and therefore present a serious threat to your security.

So, which is it? Do your employees and volunteers have the knowledge they need to spot cybercrime scams, avoid common pitfalls and keep your data secure?

If you’re not sure, then they may need training – Spokane-based IT company Philantech3 should be able to help.

Security awareness training helps your employees and volunteers know how to recognize and avoid being victimized by phishing emails and scam websites.

They learn how to handle security incidents when they occur. If your employees and volunteers are informed about what to watch for, how to block attempts and where they can turn for help, this alone is worth the investment.

Maintaining Security And HIPAA Compliance

Just as technology helps the healthcare industry through the convenience of data storage and access, it also presents serious cybersecurity risks.

To put it simply: the easier it is for you to access Protected Health Information (PHI), the easier it is for cybercriminals to do so as well. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that just because you’re not a major hospital or more active medical practice that you aren’t a potential victim – data is data. If you’re an easy target, cybercriminals will find you.

While HIPAA has undergone changes over the years to address the way the healthcare industry has evolved, many are skeptical that it’s failed to keep up. You need to apply a proven strategy (ideally, with help from Spokane-based IT company Philantech3 to stay secure and compliant.

Do You Have Expert Cybersecurity Assistance From A Spokane IT Company?

As your Spokane IT company, Philantech3 will deploy a range of robust cybersecurity measures for your practice, including firewalls, patching, antivirus software updates, intrusion, and gateway protection. Furthermore, we will support your cybersecurity processes and practices, by implementing two-factor authentication, employee security training, and password reset policies for your company.

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Philantech3 is a complete IT services & IT support company working with organizations in Spokane.