Five Top Tips for Dealing with Healthcare Cybersecurity Compliance
Healthcare organizations handle a vast amount of sensitive and confidential information, making these organizations a prime target for cyberattacks. The result: strict compliance requirements that have specific rules around cybersecurity – and fines (or worse) for organizations that don’t comply.
In this article, we provide tips and recommendations on how healthcare organizations can ensure compliance with key cybersecurity regulations.
Stay Up to Date with Cybersecurity Regulations
Healthcare cybersecurity regulations are constantly evolving, so it’s important for healthcare organizations to stay current with any changes that may impact their compliance efforts. Healthcare providers need to continuously adjust their cybersecurity programs to ensure these programs remain in compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
This includes working with legal and compliance teams to make sure the company’s cybersecurity program aligns with regulatory requirements – and responding to rapidly evolving legislation such as the cybersecurity directives for medical devices included in 2022’s omnibus spending bill.
Examples of cybersecurity regulations that healthcare organizations need to monitor include the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Failure to comply with these regulations can result in significant fines and other penalties.
Establish a Robust Cybersecurity Program
A cybersecurity program is a plan of action for securing assets, data, and infrastructure. It starts with conducting a thorough assessment of existing cybersecurity practices. This assessment should identify potential vulnerabilities in technology infrastructure, business processes, and employee practices.
Based on the assessment, you can develop a cybersecurity program that addresses specific risks for healthcare organizations – including meeting compliance requirements. Areas that you need to address include risk management, access control, incident response, and data protection.
With a strong cybersecurity program in place, healthcare providers ensure that they are taking appropriate measures to safeguard against cyber threats. It can help reduce the likelihood of successful cyberattacks, minimize the impact of any attacks that do occur, and improve overall cybersecurity posture.
Deploy Cutting-Edge Tools
Threat actors are moving fast – and you need to adopt cutting-edge cybersecurity tools at the same speed if you want to avoid a breach that brings your compliance into question. Tools and tactics you should consider using include:
- Zero trust: Zero trust security is a cybersecurity model that emphasizes the principle of (by default) refusing to trust any user or system – whether inside or outside of an organization’s perimeter. It requires users and devices to continuously authenticate and authorize themselves to access resources, which helps prevent data breaches and limit the damage caused by attacks.
- Machine Learning and AI: Machine learning algorithms can quickly and accurately identify suspicious activities and unusual behavior, helping to stop attacks before they cause any damage. By analyzing patterns of behavior and identifying anomalies, ML and AI can detect threats that traditional security tools might miss.
- Live patching: Live patching allows patches to be applied to a running system without requiring a reboot, so that critical systems can stay patched without any downtime. With live patching, healthcare organizations can keep their systems up to date and secure without disrupting patient care – all while reducing the time and resources required for patching.
- Cloud-centric security: As more healthcare organizations move their data and applications to the cloud, cybersecurity tools specifically designed for cloud environments are essential. Cloud-centric security solutions also provide visibility into the security posture of cloud environments and automate security tasks.
- Endpoint Detection and Response: Endpoint detection and response (EDR) monitors endpoints in the healthcare setting, from desktops and laptops to medical devices. EDR tools can identify and contain threats before they spread, providing visibility into endpoint activity so that organizations can identify and address security weaknesses.
In many ways, protecting healthcare data against threat actors involves staying one step ahead, and the only way to do that is to take advantage of the latest approaches against cybersecurity threats.
Conduct Regular Risk Assessments
Risk assessments are a critical part of any cybersecurity program. They help healthcare providers identify and evaluate potential cybersecurity risks to their operations. Risk assessments should consider a variety of factors, including the provider’s business processes, data assets, technology infrastructure, and compliance requirements.
Conducting regular risk assessments leads to proactive steps that reduce the likelihood of successful cyber attacks and minimize the impact of any attacks that might slip through the cracks – while also highlighting areas where healthcare providers may be out of compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
To conduct a risk assessment, healthcare providers start by identifying their most critical assets, such as sensitive data or key systems. They should then evaluate potential risks to these assets and then develop a risk mitigation plan that prioritizes the most critical risks and outlines specific steps to address them.
Train Employees on Cybersecurity Best Practices
Employees can be a weak link in an organization’s cybersecurity defenses, so it’s important to train them on cybersecurity best practices. Training should cover topics such as password management, social engineering, and phishing – among others.
By educating healthcare workers and supporting employees on how to recognize and respond to cyber threats, providers can reduce the likelihood of a successful attack. It minimizes the risk of data breaches or other cybersecurity incidents that could damage the company’s reputation or result in financial losses.
Training should be an ongoing process, and healthcare providers should regularly review and update their training materials to ensure they are current and effective. Training may include in-person sessions, online courses, or other methods.
Continuously Review and Update
Healthcare providers need to regularly review and update cybersecurity policies because doing so ensures a company’s cybersecurity practices remain effective and up to date. This includes covering the latest security threats, embracing technology advancements, and following regulatory requirements.
Regular reviews help healthcare providers identify, prevent, and respond to cybersecurity incidents, minimize the impact of cyber attacks, and maintain compliance with relevant regulations. It’s also worth working with cybersecurity partners that know the healthcare industry inside-out.