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Five cybersecurity prescriptions for healthy healthcare in 2020

Thu 18 Jun 2020

To help your healthcare organisation gain ground on modern cyber threats, read these five security tips

In 2019 alone cyberattacks cost the healthcare industry $4 billion, making it the worst ever year for data breaches.

If healthcare organisations are to gain ground on modern cyber threats, they must follow certain key security strategies to build much needed cyber resilience.

Here are five security prescriptions to keep the industry healthy:

1. Embrace the zero trust security model

A recent report shows that in the healthcare sector more breaches are caused by internal than external threats. This can be attributed to human error, lapsed security oversight, or intentional abuse of privilege access to sensitive data and systems.

By implementing a zero trust approach, healthcare organisations can introduce granular controls on network traffic. This takes away the opportunity for modern attackers and internal rogue users to leverage attacks and gain access to sensitive personal health information (PHI) while remaining under the radar.

2. Improve cyber wellness against ransomware threats

Ransomware is a devastating weapon in the hands of cybercriminals targeting healthcare, accounting for over 70% of malware outbreaks in the sector.

Such attacks have brought healthcare operations to a grinding halt, paralysed connected medical devices and systems, and encrypted healthcare records to render them inaccessible by caregivers.

Sophos not only provides industry-leading anti-ransomware security but also tracks ransomware development with rigorous research from SophosLabs. Sophos Intercept X with EDR, and Sophos XG Firewall work together to disrupt and stop advanced ransomware attacks.

3. Get around the skills shortage

Lack of personnel with the appropriate cybersecurity knowledge and expertise is one of the major challenges for healthcare service providers. This is especially a headache for those who don’t have a full-time, in-house security expert.

For healthcare organisations lacking cybersecurity resources Sophos offers the Managed Threat Response (MTR) service. The service provides effective monitoring and continuous risk assessment, as well as a 24/7 dedicated team of experts.

Our solution goes beyond just alerts, it provides real incident response against threats, ensuring the risk is identified, contained, and that corrective action gets taken immediately.

4. Cover blind spots in your digital transformation efforts

Transacting information between patients, caregivers, insurance agencies, and other stakeholders should be seamless and secure. Software-defined networking (SD-WAN), with its flexible architecture, has emerged as a new favorite among healthcare organisations to meet these requirements.

It’s crucial to provide reliable and secure access to classified healthcare data at a time when many hospitals are adopting new technologies like network-connected medical devices, telehealth,  and medical apps such as picture archiving and communication systems (PACS).

Sophos, with its latest XG Firewall and SD-RED devices, makes it possible to achieve SD-WAN connectivity in line with your security and continuity goals.

5. Promote cyber awareness

Another major concern for healthcare organisation is the lack of cybersecurity education and poor data privacy awareness among employees.

Having the right cybersecurity culture is important to help reduce healthcare’s high susceptibility to a wide range of sophisticated cyberattacks.

Healthcare organizations should consider running regular awareness campaigns to make their employees, partners, and vendors more aware of the latest cybersecurity scams and phishing tactics, and thus be better prepared to take the right action when they encounter malware or phishing.

With Sophos Phish Threat, IT security teams can simulate security and compliance phishing attacks with a just few clicks, and provide automated, on-the-spot training to healthcare employees as necessary.


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