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Why is Cybersecurity Important for Hospitals?

picture of stethoscope and computer keyboard on desk. Text that reads: Healthcare Cybersecurity

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), cyberattacks in health care are on the rise. Why are cyber criminals targeting hospitals in particular? Why is cybersecurity so critical in the healthcare field? Let’s dive into the reasons for these attacks and the immense benefits that come from hiring professionals to protect against them.

Safeguarding Patient Data: The Golden Ticket for Hackers

Hospitals today manage vast amounts of sensitive patient data. From personal identification information to detailed medical histories, patient data is highly valuable. It’s also often very vulnerable. Hackers know that. A cyberattack can lead to data breaches, or ransomware attacks that cut off hospital access to the information.

In either case, the value of the data, or, the cost of a ransom payment, makes for a tantalizing target for hackers. Besides the monetary loss, hospitals risk losing the privacy and trust of their patients. Modern cybersecurity measures provide a vital level of protection to help keep patient data confidential and secure.

Preventing Financial Losses and Reducing Liability

As mentioned, cyberattacks are costly. Beyond the expenses managing the breach, hospitals can face hefty fines due to non-compliance with data protection regulations like HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). Attackers also know that reputational damage can lead to the loss of patient trust, lost revenue, and potential lawsuits. Hackers may use these facts to attempt to blackmail organizations to keep a breach quiet.

doctor sits at desk in front of computer

Obviously, the best way to protect against this type of manipulation is to have a cybersecurity in place beforehand. It also shows that the healthcare provider is being proactive about patient security.

Disruptions in Operational Continuity

Hospitals depend heavily on IT systems for daily operations. These can range from electronic health records (EHR) to medical devices and telemedicine. Hackers know that even a brief disruption in these systems can lead to panicked decisions to follow their demands. After all, anything delaying patient care can have dire consequences. But by securing their networks in advance, hospitals can ensure that their systems remain operational and that patient care is uninterrupted.

Protecting Against Evolving Threats

Cyber threats are continuously evolving. Cyber criminals are constantly exploiting new methods to gain access to sensitive systems. What might be a minor threat today could escalate into a major security concern tomorrow. Cybersecurity companies remain on the cutting edge of threat intelligence. They stay ahead of the game to provide hospitals with the latest protection measures.

Enhancing Patient Trust and Deterring Attacks

Patients are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of data security. When they see that a hospital is taking tangible steps to protect their personal and medical information, their trust in the institution is strengthened. This trust translates into greater patient satisfaction and loyalty. It can also drive more patients to choose their services over others.

More importantly, hackers that test your systems for vulnerabilities will likely move on if they see protections in place. The reality is that there are many easy targets to choose from, so why would they put in the extra work?

Security Awareness and Deterrence

woman texting on smartphone at table with computer

One particularly powerful deterrent is having a culture of cybersecurity awareness. A sturdy cybersecurity strategy includes regular staff education to keep them alert to threats. These training programs ensure that employees are aware of human error and threats like phishing attacks, and equip them with best practices to mitigate them. An informed staff is a crucial line of defense against cyber threats. It’s also an early sign to attackers that they could be dealing with security professionals.

Supporting Compliance with Industry Standards

Healthcare is one of the most regulated industries when it comes to data protection. Regulations require hospitals to implement specific security controls to protect patient information. Cybersecurity companies help ensure that hospitals are compliant with these regulations, thereby avoiding fines and potential shutdowns.

Conclusion

Cybersecurity is not just an IT issue—it’s a critical aspect of patient care and hospital management. The benefits of hiring a professional cybersecurity consultant range from safeguarding patient data and ensuring operational continuity to enhancing patient trust and satisfaction. As hospitals continue to digitize their operations, having a comprehensive cybersecurity plan in place is more important than ever. At Acuity Total Solutions, we are dedicated to providing solutions to protect hospitals from cyber threats, allowing them to focus on what they do best: saving lives.

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