News about cyber attacks on healthcare organizations creates a sense of dread or hopelessness but with a proactive approach, you can reduce your healthcare security threat levels. In this article, we’ll outline the top cybersecurity threats to the healthcare industry and provide you with healthcare security solutions to protect your processes, data, and people.
The digital transformation of healthcare with cloud technology
The healthcare industry has fully embraced digitalization by including innovative, AI-based technologies for patient diagnosis and treatments, as well as within daily hospital operations such as using IoT sensors to locate equipment in hospitals.
A result of healthcare’s digital transformation has been the implementation of cloud technology. It’s used to efficiently improve processes with remote patient monitoring, transform team collaboration, and store Electronic Health Records (EHR). There is so much confidential information stored in the cloud such as X-Rays and MRI scans stored with cloud-based medical imaging solutions as well as patient records, genomic data, and clinical trial data. This highly sensitive and personal information simply can’t get into the wrong hands.
What are the top cybersecurity threats to healthcare in 2023?
The healthcare cybersecurity threats we’re seeing this year are:
- Ransomware attacks – The National Cyber Security Centre describes ransomware as: “a type of malware that prevents you from accessing your device and the data stored on it, usually by encrypting your files.” This brings a halt to healthcare operations where the stakes are high to keep protecting patients. Cybercriminals take advantage of a healthcare organization’s desperation for restoration by demanding a ransom for decryption.
- Insider threats – These refer to security threats that arise from individuals within an organization. This usually happens when organizations focus all their cybersecurity efforts on external threats, ignoring the fact that insiders have access to data and systems.
- Cloud misconfigurations – Configuring the cloud incorrectly creates security gaps in a system’s security posture. They can cause incorrect access control settings, unpatched systems, and data leakages. Misconfigurations are very common as penetration tests constantly identify this problem. Cloud misconfigurations are mostly caused accidentally by human error. This can be down to a lack of cloud security expertise.
- Data breaches – A data breach relates to a situation where sensitive and protected data is accessed by unauthorized individuals. These cause huge consequences to the healthcare organization, that often can’t be reversed.
What is the biggest threat to security of healthcare data?
CRO of StackZone, Gaston Silbestein, describes: “The biggest threat to the security of healthcare data is simply not prioritizing cybersecurity because this allows unknown vulnerabilities to grow. It needs to be considered in every business process and remain at the forefront of all operations, maintained 24 hours a day. The only way to do this is through automation and intelligent monitoring with an AWS security tool to maximize healthcare data protection.”
Moving away from manual processes within cloud management protects healthcare and supports the industry on the next step of its digital transformation.
What is the impact of cyber attacks on healthcare?
Cyber attacks on healthcare unfortunately can have a devastating impact:
- Compromising patient safety
- Reducing trust and changing the industry’s reputation
- Huge financial consequences
- Disruptions to operations
- Theft of intellectual property
Healthcare security threats aren’t going unnoticed. Earlier this year in March, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee examined the cybersecurity risks to the healthcare sector. What was identified was: “Healthcare is a complex business model whereby multiple, often independent, entities come together to form what the patient sees as a cohesive care delivery process… This model has evolved in ways that have made us more vulnerable to cyber-attacks.”
Healthcare security solutions: How to protect yourself from the biggest healthcare security threats
The AWS Heroes in our team deeply understand the nature of cyber attacks on healthcare and consequently the necessary protection needed to prevent them.
1. Include AWS security features in your cybersecurity strategy
While cloud technology enables healthcare to do amazing things and work efficiently, cloud environments need to be managed correctly for responsible protection. This means making full use of AWS security features in your cloud management. AWS offers several security features that protect healthcare data, including identity and access management, network security, and encryption.
With StackZone, AWS security features are implemented with automation so you don’t need to manually remediate and configure something across your cloud environment. This enables you to fasttrack data protection and keep it continually maintained.
2. Regularly monitor and update your AWS configurations
As mentioned before, one of the leading cybersecurity trends in healthcare is misconfigurations. So the solution to this is to ensure your cloud environment is correctly configured at all times. But how do we guarantee this when healthcare is full of busy people with limited capacity?
Healthcare organizations should regularly monitor and update their AWS configurations to ensure they are properly configured and secure. This includes regular vulnerability assessments and penetration testing. StackZone takes this a step further with our blueprint for healthcare. This blueprint allows your cloud environment to be correctly configured in hours with superfast deployment based on the bespoke cybersecurity needs of healthcare organizations, rather than a one-size-fits-all solution.
3. Implement a Zero Trust model
A zero-trust model is essential for healthcare and can be thought of as a concept. Essentially, every person in and out of the organization’s network needs to be authenticated and continually validated for access. This is for everyone, regardless of who they are, or what their role is, there are no exceptions. It adds an additional layer of security and reduces the risk of unauthorized access by requiring authorization for all devices. It also allows for granular access controls, maximizing access management of sensitive data.
4. Organize regular employee training and awareness
Human error is a major causation of cyber attacks on healthcare. It takes one simple mistake from a healthcare employee to cause a disaster. With regular training, cybersecurity stays on the minds of everyone in healthcare.This training should cover how to spot a phishing email and what to do with it, your password policy, how to identify an unsafe link, guidelines on secure social media usage, and more.
5. Use third-party security tools
In addition to AWS security features, healthcare organizations should also consider using third-party security tools to further enhance their cloud’s cybersecurity posture. These tools can help detect and prevent cyber threats, as well as provide additional layers of protection for sensitive patient data.
StackZone, an AWS security tool, for healthcare implements real time monitoring to respond to threats promptly. The software helps to identify and mitigate risks so users have full visibility into the risk level of their cloud environment. The software also auto-remediates cyber risks within AWS cloud configurations. This creates a proactive approach to cybersecurity, which is essential for healthcare.
Final thoughts on protecting the future of healthcare
The healthcare industry plays a critical role in our society and healthcare security threats are on the rise. The cybersecurity trends in healthcare are evolving as cybercriminals develop new ways to cause harm. It’s essential to have a proactive approach to cybersecurity, 24/7. An excellent way to achieve this is through automation of AWS security best practices for cloud protection. Maximize your security capabilities with StackZone, the powerful AWS cloud management platform simplifying secure cloud management for healthcare. Want to quickly secure your cloud environment? Find out more about our healthcare blueprint.
Author: Gastón Silbestein, CRO of StackZone