Insider threats are security risks that come from within your organization. They could be any of your current or former employees, contractors, or associates who have knowledge about your computer systems and can expose your data. They are a major issue in many industries, the healthcare sector included. In this article, we look at five ways to detect and prevent insider threats.
All healthcare employees must be educated on patient privacy, data security, and the risks associated with certain behaviors. They must also be aware of allowable uses and disclosures of protected health information (PHI). For example, some healthcare personnel may be tempted to peek into the medical records of a celebrity admitted to their hospital. You must emphasize that such behavior is strictly forbidden and that it carries corresponding penalties.
Develop and enforce policies aimed at reducing the risk of data leaks. Make sure your employees understand the repercussions of violations and privacy breaches under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Discussing patients or PHI in public areas of the hospital, for example, can result in hefty penalties and criminal charges leading to jail time.
Healthcare organizations should implement technology that can quickly identify breaches. They also need to ensure that only authorized personnel are accessing sensitive patient data. This can be accomplished by regularly checking user access logs, as well as consistently monitoring and updating access controls. Any attempt by unauthorized personnel to access data must be penalized.
To limit its impact, any potential privacy and security breach must be investigated promptly and thoroughly upon detection. Once the cause of the breach is identified, your organization needs to implement measures to keep breaches from happening in the future.
Healthcare employees must regularly undergo comprehensive cybersecurity training, as this will turn them into an effective first line of defense against various cyber risks, including insider threats. Just because the members of your team were oriented on data privacy and security-related topics during their first day on the job doesn’t mean you should be complacent. Cybersecurity risks continue to evolve, so it pays to be vigilant and to keep your team’s knowledge updated at all times.
Encourage your IT department to provide various tips across a wide variety of cybersecurity-related topics throughout the year. Using different types of media, such as emails, printed newsletters, infographics, and even memos, to deliver these tips will make them easier to understand and keep in mind for your employees.
Protecting healthcare data from insider threats is more than just about staying compliant with industry regulations. It’s also vital to protecting the privacy of your patients and your staff, as well as the reputation of your healthcare organization.
For more information about the different ways you can keep your healthcare data secure, just give our experts a call.