How to Protect your Patient Data from Ransomware in 2018

People generally don’t enjoy talking about ransomware and the need to protect patient data, because they usually evoke feelings of dread with thoughts such as, “what if my data is hacked and stolen?” Or that negative feeling of, “what if my valuable patient data is held hostage?”

hackedPatient data security is something most people prefer not to think about.

But during a recent conversation, I was reminded of 2016’s Dark Overlord incident, in which it was discovered that a ring of hackers had been trying to sell protected health information (PHI).  They weren’t simply waiting for or hoping that the facility from which it was stolen would pay to get it back. They were actually shopping the data around on the dark web in the hopes of selling it to the highest bidder, and in doing so endangering the hospitals’ reputations –  not to mention holding on to the private and sensitive records, IDs, and information of patients.

So let’s avoid the dreadful mindset and instead be proactive. So what does that mean, exactly?

Regular Healthcare IT Assessments Protect Your Data

At a minimum, we recommend a complete annual review of any network that is handling patient information  –  if not more frequently than that. How often will depend on the amount of data and number of patient records in your care. And these assessments must be thorough, well documented, and frequent.

At True North, our healthcare IT and HIPAA compliance assessments cover all of the regulations that a HIPAA audit would examine. We not only identify vulnerabilities; we show organizations exactly which steps they need to take in response to those vulnerabilities.

After generating a strictly HIPAA-focused report, we’ll use documentation, analysis, and consultation to carefully guide our clients through the findings, helping to establish a better security framework.

Get EMR Consulting to Boost Your Patient Security

Our healthcare IT consultants will also discuss data encryption since HIPAA compliance and the protection of EMRs and patient records go hand-in-hand – especially if you have access to a cloud server or you use a file sharing service. Because let’s be honest – non-encrypted files are low-hanging fruit for hackers.

In some cases, ensuring HIPAA compliance will mean applying our own managed security solution to help fill in the gaps.

Sadly, healthcare organizations that experience a data breach very rarely see patients return to that organization. You and your physicians have worked far too hard to earn that patients’ business, so why not do everything you can to protect it?

As a leading provider of Healthcare IT services including EMR consulting, healthcare data, HIPAA consulting and data security services, True North is the ideal choice to ensure your facility runs efficiently and securely. Don’t put yourself at risk – contact us today for your complimentary 30-minute IT assessment!

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