How may I protect my medical practice from a data breach?

As a health care professional, you work in a field often targeted by bad actors armed with a range of cyberattack strategies. As noted by Infosecurity Magazine, what makes a medical practice a prime target for cybercriminals is the personal client and practitioner information stored on its records system. In the wrong hands, this type of information could enable both health care fraud and identity theft.

As noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Protection, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act requires health care providers to protect their patients’ medical information. To comply with HIPPA’s Security Rule, providers must take steps to safeguard their patients’ stored electronic records.

What types of data-breach schemes should I watch out for?

Phishing is a commonly used tactic to break into data storage systems. An employee may receive what appears to genuinely reflect a legitimate email request from another medical group or service provider. Responding to the bogus request could open the door to a system breach.

Indiscriminately clicking on links or downloading email attachments could lead to a malware attack or ransomware ultimatum. Malware may, however, also come from an infected third-party device.

What steps could I take to protect my practice from data breaches?

Training plays a key role in protecting your practice and your patients from cybercriminals. Train your employees after you train yourself. Try hacking your own system, perform risk assessments and run penetration tests. Password-protected access privileges and documented security routines could help your entire team remain vigilant.

Backing up your data on a regularly scheduled basis could help you resume normal operations if a malware attack somehow breaks through. Consider seeking the advice of experienced professionals who are well-versed in cybersecurity, drafting work policies and remaining in compliance with state and federal guidelines.