How to safeguard PHI

How to safeguard PHI

Hospital data breaches are emerging at an alarming rate and show no signs of slowing down in 2019. That’s because data fetches a hefty price on the black market, making hospitals prime targets for cybercriminals. The best way to defend against these threats is to arm your team with the following systems and protocols.

Strict access policies
To control access to protected health information (PHI), your IT department must introduce access restriction policies. For example, accountants should not have access to the same data as physicians. This guarantees that none of your employees are viewing off-limits records or increasing the chances of a breach.

Healthcare executives must also enforce policies that reprimand staff for accessing patient data without a valid business-related reason. This coupled with strict training for IT security best practices will significantly reduce the chances of a data breach.

Full-disk encryption
Full-disk encryption is an inexpensive and quick method to secure private information. It renders stolen data indecipherable to anyone without the matching decryption key.

Even though this recommendation is old news in the healthcare sector, the recent shift to greater mobility makes encryption a top priority more than ever, particularly because stolen or lost devices pose a massive security risk.

Let’s say a healthcare provider’s laptop got stolen. The thief could sell PHI for over $350 per record. By comparison, encrypted devices would never be subjected to such a scenario.

Resilient infrastructure
Your primary goal is to reduce potential entryways into your network. Since email and unsecured websites are the most common malware distribution systems, you need to set up proper safeguards, such as advanced firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, and email filtering software.

If malware does manage to infiltrate your network, you must stop it from spreading. This means you’ll need next-gen anti-malware software that can detect and quarantine any signs of a breach. If such systems fail, you’d also need a data backup and recovery plan so you can continue caring for your patients during a major incident.

Your patients trust you with their lives and their privacy. If the strategies in this article sound too technical for you, just give us a call and we’ll make sure these cybersecurity measures have your back.