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Top 4 Tips to Avoid a Healthcare Breach

Jim Wangler
March 29, 2017

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Every day, somewhere, a cybercrime gang is targeting the healthcare industry. That’s not an exaggeration; healthcare has become the most attacked industry in the world. Big hospital networks, small private practices and insurance companies have one thing in common: they all store the patient and medical data that attackers find so valuable.

If you know anything about healthcare IT, you know that criminals are effective at stealing credentials and using them to steal payment card numbers, medical data, Social Security numbers, birthdates, and other data. They’re also good at using those credentials to roam through — and even harm — an organization’s systems and data.

Healthcare IT teams understand the drastic fallout that follows a breach – but they often don’t fully understand how to protect themselves. So today we’re going to share 4 best practices that can protect patient well-being by making cybersecurity defense a top priority.

#1. Enhanced Security and Risk Mitigation

Your team faces a rising number of threats from inside your company to distant and well-funded criminal rings. Controlling access to your healthcare applications and medical data is vital, but it must be balanced with a smooth and convenient experience for users.

How? By implementing multiple pre-authentication or adaptive authentication techniques, established users like doctors get fast access to data while keeping out criminals — even when they have valid credentials. With adaptive authentication, staff can even access applications without a 2FA step if no risk is present — combining strong security with an amazing user experience.

#2. Cost Reduction and Faster Time to Value

If you could spy on healthcare IT leaders discussing potential solutions, you’d hear a focus on technical effectiveness. When it comes to regaining control over data, devices and applications, one important factor is cost savings and business efficiency. Cost-effective technologies that offer rapid time to value can empower teams to have more budget for new innovations.

A few ideas: phase out hard tokens and the replacement costs and administrative burden that come with them. Prioritize modern authentication techniques that identify users through elements such as device recognition, behavioral biometrics, and multi-factor authentication methods that utilize mechanisms users already use daily, such as smartphone and email. Those go over well with doctors, and so do these: self-service tools, like enrollment and password resets, that can reduce Help Desk costs and loss of productivity.

#3. Consolidation and Centralization

You likely deal with an array of VPN, cloud, on-Premise, mobile, and homegrown resources. The most efficient way to handle that complexity: a consolidated access control approach that centralizes security.

Take a look also at how many point solutions you’re managing. Are medical personnel overwhelmed with passwords and policies for too many applications? Are your “quick fix” solutions becoming more complicated down the line? Pick a solution that’s flexible and offers future potential so you won’t be scrambling again twelve months down the line.

#4. User Acceptance and Adoption

Your patients, partners, and physicians are a critical aspect of your security program. As you know, your users are busy and they often will create a convenient workaround even if it violates security policy. They download an unsupported application, share credentials or keep a list of passwords on their desk.

At that point, the most sophisticated security solution doesn’t help much since the users are creating gaps and weaknesses.

That’s why user experience is so important – not only do you want your doctors, techs, patients, and other users to access their data quickly and easily, you want them to do so in a way that doesn’t put you at risk. Whether a nurse loses his laptop, a lab tech uses a guessable password or a medical record clerk falls for a phishing attack, your users will put you at risk. Controls such as device recognition, geo-location, IP address interrogation, behavioral biometrics, threat service, phone number fraud prevention and more are the most effective way to overcome those inevitable gaps.  And these controls can be found in one solution: SecureAuth.

Protecting Healthcare IT

With the number of healthcare breaches in the news, it sometimes seems like an attack is inevitable. But by following the right practices and adopting the right controls, IT leaders can strengthen security and empower their doctors and other users to deliver excellent patient care. 

Protect your EHR (Electronic Health Records), and make sure role based access control to ePHI (Electronic protected health information) is properly set up to protect your healthcare organization from a breach or attack. SecureAuth provides healthcare organizations with single sign-on multi-factor authentication to meet DEA and HIPAA requirements to protect patient data and EPCS (Electronic Prescriptions for Controlled Substances).

Download the full Best Practice Guide for Strong Access Control in Healthcare, or contact us for a personalized demo today.

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