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Preventing Ransomware: A Guide For Dallas Healthcare & Medical Offices

The healthcare industry is an incredibly complex and fast-paced sector. You understand the importance of conducting continuous research to keep your products and services relevant. But just as new medicines, treatments, and methods are continually being developed, so too are digital and technological tools that streamline healthcare practices and keep your data safe.

In fact, keeping up with data security should be one of your medical clinic’s biggest concerns. Safeguarding your data is becoming much more challenging as malware and other cyber threats become more advanced and sophisticated each day. New threats are constantly emerging, making it difficult to ensure your systems are always protected from a data breach. 

Not to mention, faults in cybersecurity defenses can lead to non-compliance with obligatory cybersecurity regulations such as HIPAA, resulting in hefty fees and legal consequences. In order to maintain the privacy of your data and ensure you remain HIPAA compliant, it’s becoming more important that you get help from a Managed Service Provider (MSP). These specialist IT companies can help to secure your medical practice’s IT systems to prevent the risk of data breaches.

Here are some critical things to keep in mind as you strive to keep your healthcare organization protected from ransomware and other cyber threats:

Cyberattacks are hugely prevalent in the healthcare sector.

The first thing to bear in mind is that your business is operating in a highly-sensitive industry. The healthcare market deals with such a large amount of private data that it’s a huge target for hackers. They use ransomware to try to steal sensitive information from private databases. 

As the name suggests, ransomware is a type of malware that holds the targeted data or access at a specified ransom amount. In the case your systems are vulnerable, you could be threatened with a mass data leak unless you pay the ransom, and even when you pay it, you’re not guaranteed your data will be returned undamaged or uncompromised. 

The cost of a cyberattack can be astronomically high.

The main reason to prevent ransomware is that the cost of repairing the damage of such an attack can be massive. You could face initial fees for tidying up the breach, legal fees for breaking HIPAA regulations, patient lawsuits, and of course, ransom fees. 

In fact, in 2017, when 1.6 million NHS patient records were leaked to DeepMind, it cost NHS millions of dollars in cleanup fees. Most importantly, data breaches also mean you could also earn a damaged reputation, causing you to lose a lot of patients.

How to Prevent Ransomware:

  • Set up a layered security architecture: First, you should take a look at the existing security measures in your IT infrastructure. Are your systems being protected against new and emerging threats, including zero-day vulnerabilities? Setting up a layered security architecture can ensure you have a set of controls on different levels to protect your data. 

A layered security architecture should be able to accurately identify its users to ensure that they have the correct permissions. Access rights are the cornerstone of a secure medical database, and various levels of controls can ensure the effects of a security breach are mitigated, should one occur.

  • Develop incident-report procedures: You should also develop incident-report procedures in order to prevent ransomware from damaging your healthcare business. Such procedures will help you to respond to situations as quickly as possible. The goal of such a report is to notify the correct people immediately and analyze them to prevent future incidents. It should also include detailed and readily accessible information.
  • Set up anonymizers/proxy servers: This is another important part of securing your medical practice’s data. Anonymizers and proxy servers can help you by ensuring that your private information is shielded from prying eyes when accessed or transferred on an open-net connection.
  • Use a secured hosting option: This piece of advice applies to all businesses, but it’s particularly important for healthcare companies. By using a hosting option that’s secure, such as a private cloud for your business, you’ll be able to closely survey and control your data storage on one platform.
  • Hire a Managed Service Provider (MSP): Finally, it’s a good idea to outsource your cybersecurity to an MSP. While the advice in this article is extremely useful, it can be difficult to implement correctly. A reliable MSP such as Total IT can ensure that your medical organization stays compliant with cybersecurity laws while avoiding costly data breaches by implementing the tips above as well as continually monitoring and improving your infrastructure.

A professional IT service for healthcare offices such as this could help your business in a legal sense but also in a practical sense. Keeping up with the latest advancements in technology is difficult, but it’s necessary to do this if you want to protect your healthcare practice’s data and its overall reputation. If you’re in need of help securing your network and data, contact our experts at Total IT today.