Major Cybersecurity Challenges in Healthcare Data Management

Last year, more than 40 percent of health care organisations encountered a cyber assault involving "WannaCry" ransomware.

Fremont, CA: Cybersecurity has been the top priority for many sectors. Among these, it is more important for the healthcare sector, which needs higher precision at all times and can have significant consequences when it is affected. Many healthcare companies have welcomed technology as an ally and have developed a variety of beneficial applications. However, this digitization has left the industry vulnerable to a range of cyberattacks as the networks are now dealing with a lot of digital data/information.

It's not that easy to handle and defend. Last year, more than 40 percent of health care organizations encountered a cyber assault involving "WannaCry" ransomware.

One of the most severely affected victims of the WannaCry ransomware attack was the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK, where some hospitals were forced to cancel outpatient appointments. Forward-looking, healthcare organizations must remain at the forefront of data privacy for their staff and patients and recognize the complexities that govern data security practices.

Challenges in Healthcare Data Management

Internal Threats

One of the most common cases of data breach happens because of human or user error. Verizon's 2019 DBIR lists that about 59 percent of all health-care breaches were caused by trusted insiders. Users would not be able to open backdoor access to their data when accessing lab work from the provider's portal over an insecure network, confidential email information, or upload/download unencrypted data over the cloud. It should also be remembered that while healthcare providers are bound by the HIPAA regulations, users do not get anything under the radar. It is therefore advisable for users to follow best practices in safeguarding their data, to pay attention to when and when their data is disseminated, and to use strong encryption whenever possible.

Cloud and Mobile Adoption

Recent time shifts, such as the coronavirus pandemic, have caused people to keep their distance from each other and carry out their tasks remotely. As such, remote/distance healthcare solutions through mobile healthcare apps, video conferencing and messaging have seen stunning growth. According to AHA, 76 percent of US hospitals use video or some other interactive technology to connect patients and consult practitioners. This rise has also opened up a variety of avenues for attackers to creep in and take away valuable data/information. Although healthcare providers can easily encrypt data over the cloud, it may be very challenging to cover it in on-site/user applications. As a result, healthcare providers must be cautious in terms of their safety and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies to ensure that their use of cloud and mobile technologies does not breach HIPAA.