The threat landscape for all industries is constantly evolving – and healthcare is no exception. In 2016, we saw an increase in ransomware attacks paralyzing hospitals through their computer systems, not allowing them to properly treat patients until they paid bounties to hackers threatening to steal their protected health information.  

While there are clear trends shaping the future of healthcare IT, there’s no way to fully predict the future. There will always be unknown variables threatening to destroy even the best laid plans. So what can you do? Instead of shrinking in fear, take these five steps to prepare for the unknown in cybersecurity: 

  1. There is no impenetrable defense: If you build a 10-foot wall around your company’s data, hackers will bring an 11-foot ladder. If you add another foot or two to your wall, hackers will bring an even bigger ladder. Your company will likely be breached at some point – there is no way around it. There is too much data, too many holes for hackers to poke, and in many cases not enough time or resources for companies to keep up. It’s not just about fines, damage to corporate reputation, and scary headlines – if hackers can get their hands on your treasure trove of data and manipulate it, it could be enough to end your business. Stop focusing on the old ways hackers attack, and take a hard look at your existing IT landscape today to understand how a hacker could compromise it tomorrow 
  2. Keep on top of world news: Many companies that use Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) systems are undergoing “alert fatigue”, forcing their security professionals to review tons of alert data – much of which ends up being confirmed as false positives. Break out of this mold and pay close attention to global economic developments and geopolitical events. Just because the Russians reportedly hacked the Democratic National Committee here in the U.S. doesn’t mean they would benevolently pass by your healthcare company’s IT systems. Add intelligence to the equation to anticipatedetect, and extinguish potential threats.  
  3. Redefine “security” for your senior management: Regulatory fines and public disclosure of embarrassing data breaches haven’t eliminated the problem of cyberattacks. A new carrot and stick approach must be used with senior management to make sure that not only the c-suite understands the importance of cybersecurity, but it extends to the rest of your organization. Businesses need to think in terms of risk prevention and mitigation, understanding what the risks to their business are and taking proactive steps to detect and prevent them. 
  4. Guard data like the crown jewels they are: The exponential rise in connectivity and big data is impacting business networks and giving hackers new ways to attack. Get a handle on your data and get ready for more business-astute hackers to try and wrest control away from you. It’s likely what’s fuelled the attacks we’ve already seen on hospitals and healthcare organizations and will only continue as hackers have the opportunity to make much more per transaction than targeting the average user. 
  5. Don’t rely on 20th century IT to solve a 21st century problem: Businesses are starting to work out how they can get more visibility across their entire network, augment and then entirely replace their legacy systems with newer – potentially cloud-based – solutions. Whether part of criminal groups or nation-state operations, hackers can move faster than ever before, expand malware and actively change exploit tactics. Reactive cybersecurity methods are now obsolete. 

Healthcare organizations – possessing a voluminous amount of protected health, personally identifiable, and lucrative insurance information – are prime targets of hackers in 2017. We’ll be discussing this at length with those attending HIMSS in February, the largest healthcare IT show in America.  

The good news is you don’t have to wait for HIMSS to learn more – contact us today so we can show you how our managed security services for on-premises or cloud environments will extend your IT teams, unburden them, and secure your data.    

US Cyber Vault is a leading sponsor of the Cyber Security Command Center at HIMSS 2017 in Orlando, FL - Feb 19-23 both in the Cybersecurity Command Center at Kiosk #376 - 13 and in our own flagship booth 487 right next to the Command Center.