The healthcare industry is no stranger to security threats. According to research, from January to May 2021, around 82 ransomware attacks occurred in the healthcare industry worldwide. And 90% of phishing attacks are for data breaches. This is because cybercriminals know that healthcare organisations are sitting on a wealth of sensitive data, including patient medical records and financial information.
With so many cyber attacks, healthcare facilities and other medical organisations must have solid security protocols in place. And healthcare security leaders are vital in ensuring these protocols are followed. In other words, these leaders are responsible for the safety and security of medical facilities, staff, and patients.
To give you in-depth insights, here are the values of security leaders in the healthcare industry:
1. Creates And Implements Security Policies
It's no secret that the healthcare field is highly regulated. Medical facilities must comply with federal and state laws, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). These regulations are designed to protect patient privacy and keep sensitive data safe.
Creating and implementing security policies is one of the most critical duties of healthcare security leaders. They work with other departments in the organisation, such as information technology (IT) staff and human resource (HR) personnel, to build policies that protect patient information and meet all compliance requirements.
Healthcare security leaders are also responsible for physical security, such as the upkeep of any facility door entries that use keypad access control systems.
For example, they might develop a policy that requires all team members to use strong passwords and encrypt all patient data. Or, they might create rules that outline how to handle a data breach.
Having solid protection policies in place is essential to prevent cyber threats. It's also best that these policies are well-documented and communicated to all staff members. Otherwise, they won't be effective. That's why security leaders can help articulate these policies clearly and concisely.
2. Identifies And Manages Security Risks
No matter how robust your security policies are, there's always a risk of a data breach or other security incident, especially in cyberspace. It's an inevitable part of doing business in today's world. Cybercriminals are always coming up with new ways to exploit vulnerabilities.
That's why healthcare security experts continuously monitor the organisation for risks. They do this by conducting risk assessments, such as identifying potential security threats and determining their likelihood and impact. For instance, a risk assessment might reveal that a specific type of malware targets healthcare facilities.
Security leaders can develop a plan to mitigate the identified risks based on the findings of a risk assessment. This plan might involve using firewalls and intrusion detection systems to block malware. Or perhaps, educate staff on how to spot phishing emails. By taking proactive measures, security leaders can help reduce or eliminate the chances of a security incident happening.
3. Investigates Security Incidents
Despite best efforts, sometimes security incidents do occur. Data theft, system breaches, and malware attacks are common in the healthcare industry. When these cybercrimes happen, data security professionals can conduct a thorough investigation. This involves figuring out how the incident occurred, what type of data was compromised, and who was behind the attack.
Security experts use various tools and techniques to gather evidence and track the culprits. For instance, they may review system logs or network traffic data. Or they could use forensics software to analyse the affected systems. They install new security software or tighten up access control measures. By conducting a detailed investigation and taking corrective action, security leaders can help prevent future incidents, keeping patients' data safe.
4. Provides Training And Awareness Programs
Sometimes, the best way to prevent a security incident is to educate staff members on how to spot and avoid risks. After all, human error is often the weakest link in an organisation's security. Many healthcare facilities want to partner with security leaders like HealthTECH Resources to develop training and awareness programs. These programs may cover password managers, anti-spyware software, phishing scams, and compliance requirements.
These security experts will often establish and run these training programs. They can produce educational materials, deliver presentations, and lead discussions. Security leaders use their in-depth knowledge to provide everyone with the valuable and relevant information they need to stay safe online.
They may create a program that covers the basics of security attacks or inspires team members to think critically about cybersecurity. Either way, these training programs can go a long way in raising awareness and improving the organisation's overall security posture, thus keeping everyone on the same page.
5. Keeps Up With The Latest Security Trends
The healthcare industry is constantly changing, and so are the trends in data security. To keep up with the latest threats and vulnerabilities, healthcare security leaders can help organisations stay updated on the latest industry trends. They read trade publications, attend conferences, and network with other professionals.
Additionally, security leaders may offer innovative technology solutions to their clients. They might suggest new ways to secure data or introduce novel security products. Such tech trends may include biometric authentication, two-factor authentication, behavioural analytics, and cloud-based security solutions. These cutting-edge solutions can help healthcare organisations to stay ahead of the curve, protecting patients' data from the latest threats.
6. Helps Build Trust Between The Organisation And Patients
Since the healthcare industry deals with sensitive patient information, organisations must build trust with their patients. After all, patients need to feel confident that their data is well-protected. They need to know that their medical records, financial information, and personal details are safe from prying eyes.
As mentioned earlier, security leaders can be instrumental in ensuring the safety of patients' data; thus, security practices are expected to be up to par. In turn, this approach can foster a better relationship between the two parties and improve the overall level of care.
Building trust isn't an easy feat. That's why healthcare organisations need to be proactive in their efforts. They must show patients they're taking the necessary steps to protect their data. They can do this by investing in robust security solutions, implementing best practices, and, more importantly, collaborating with experienced security leaders.
7. Improves Overall Business Operations
Healthcare security leaders don't just help to protect patients' data. They can also have a positive impact on the overall business operations of the healthcare organisation. Since they deeply understand the security landscape, they can help streamline processes and procedures.
For instance, they can review the current security infrastructure and identify areas for improvement. Additionally, they can help automate manual tasks or develop custom solutions to improve efficiency. Ultimately, their goal is to help the healthcare industry run smoothly and securely. This approach could streamline workflows, reduce costs, and improve the quality of work.
There's no denying that security leaders can be a valuable asset to any organisation. They bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table, which can help improve the healthcare organisation's security posture.
Now that you understand the value of healthcare security leaders, it's time to evaluate whether your organisation could benefit from their services. After all, there's nothing better than having peace of mind knowing that your data is well-protected.
About Author: Jessica Loder is an IT security analyst and freelance writer. She has a passion for helping organisations improve their overall security posture. She enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time with her family in her spare time.