Cybersecurity is no longer just a vague warning issued by your IT department. Security breaches seem to be everyday occurrences and far-reaching criminal attacks are a very real concern in our personal and professional lives. For those of us in the healthcare industry, this is a particularly heinous threat that must be taken seriously. According to a recent Becker’s Health article, healthcare saw a 155% increase in data breaches in March 2017 alone.
These rampant cyber-attacks are constantly evolving and are becoming more sophisticated than ever. You must be aware of your company’s vulnerabilities so you can act to ensure that your organization is protecting critical data. Here are five basic steps you can take to minimize the risk of an attack:
1. Create a culture where security comes first
Individuals are the first line of defense and ensuring that you are promoting a culture of security awareness is paramount to your success. It’s a commonly held belief that users are the weakest link in any digital network. Establishing security basics like employee education, best practices, policies and procedures, and even enforcing strict guidelines for password and authentication protocols is an important first step.
2. Limit access to networks and Protected Health Information (PHI)
It’s critical to audit who is permitted to view highly sensitive information. PHI should only be accessed on a need to know basis, so permission levels should be adjusted accordingly. It is also important to verify your networks are encrypted properly. The commonly used file sharing and instant messaging apps can be an easy entry point for hackers. Finally, don’t forget to encrypt all laptop hard drives and mobile devices to safeguard PHI outside the office as well.
3. Build a strong firewall
If you think having antivirus software is enough, you’re mistaken. If any computers within your network have access to the internet, you must have a strong firewall in place to effectively block intruders.
4. Back up critical data
Being prepared for the worst is important. Evaluate what data is critical to your organization and create a process to ensure that you have an up-to-date back up procedure in place to alleviate losses in the event of a catastrophic attack.
5. Audit processes and tools for potential risks
Limit permissions for downloading software and add-ons by employees. While a tool may help them get their work done faster, it may be putting your organization in jeopardy.
HCIM believes that cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility. When we design our cutting-edge technologies, security is always our top concern. Our SymKey® robotic claims processing tool is a sophisticated solution that works behind your organization’s firewall when processing PHI. With SymKey®, there’s no concern about transmitting data outside of your network or offshore where it is vulnerable to attack.
For more information about how HCIM can help you process healthcare claims faster and more accurately while keeping your data safe, please complete the contact form on the sidebar or call 925-265-4113, ext. 5.