What Are Some Healthcare Data Risk Factors?
The first step in securing healthcare information against unauthorized access is identifying risk factors that make a healthcare organization vulnerable to an attack. Healthcare organizations that present the following risk factors may be at a higher risk of experiencing a data breach.
The Use of Outdated/Legacy Systems
Outdated applications and operating systems often have less reliable security controls than new systems. As a result, healthcare organizations that utilize outdated apps risk a data security breach.
Email Scams with Malware
Email scams are some of the most popular methods of compromising healthcare security. In these scams, healthcare workers receive emails from what looks like an authorized user. However, they contain malicious links that compromise employee data. In busy environments like healthcare organizations, employees may be more likely to open these malicious emails.
Internal Employees, Contractors, and Vendors
Healthcare operations usually employ more staff than other organization types. Typically, the more employees an organization has, the higher the risk that employees or contractors will compromise data integrity by:
- Sharing private data with outside parties
- Falling victim to malware schemes
- Stealing data for personal use
The more business associates that have access to data, the risk of a security breach increases.
Unsecured Wireless Network Security
Today, many healthcare organizations use wireless networks to give staff access to patient data anywhere in their buildings. While convenient, this necessitates proper wireless network security to avoid security breaches.
A Lack of Strong Passwords
In organizations in which every employee creates their own login information, weak passwords pose security risks. All it takes is one employee using an easily guessable password to compromise the entire healthcare data system in a data breach.
A Lack of Training in Data Security Practices
Data attacks do not only occur through malware and viruses. They can also result from employee carelessness.
Each healthcare worker, volunteer, and business associate must receive proper training to identify and combat security issues within their organizations. Medical organizations that do not implement data security training are at a higher risk of leaking sensitive data to bad actors.
Failure to Always Keep Data Secure
An overall failure to secure personal data against third parties makes organizations vulnerable to attacks. Even employees walking away from mobile devices or workstations without locking them can create an opening for data theft.