January 8, 2016

    Why Healthcare Facilities Should Ramp Up Data Security in 2016

    healthcare facilities should ramp up data security in 2016According to a white paper about data breach resolution that was recently released by Experian, data breaches in the healthcare industry in particular are expected to be an ongoing concern in 2016 and beyond. As a result, healthcare data security in general becomes of paramount importance, particularly when you consider the sheer volume of mission critical and private data that organizations are tasked with dealing with on a daily basis.

    Results of Experian Report for Healthcare Industry

    The Experian report highlights the fact that healthcare companies continue to be a top target for attackers and others with malicious intentions due to the incredibly high value that compromised data can get when eventually sold on the black market.

    Many people assume that credit card information would be the most valuable type of stolen data, but this is incorrect. If an attacker steals someone's credit card number, they can probably create a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars of fraudulent charges before they are discovered. Even full on identity theft is not the severe problem it once was, as many safeguards are in place to automatically detect fraud on this level and curb the problem wherever possible.

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    Medical data, on the other hand, is something of a perfect storm in this regard. Not only can it compromise electronic health records be used to purchase expensive medical equipment, drugs and other resources that can then be resold at a premium, but the healthcare industry in general is also woefully behind others in terms of data security and safeguarding this type of information in the first place. According to the Experian white paper, nearly 91% of all healthcare organizations that currently exist have experienced some type of data breach within the last two years alone. While not every breach is as devastating as the one that hit Premera Blue Cross in 2015, this still underlines the need for healthcare facilities to make data security 2016 a top priority.

    Experian indicated that a growing number of vulnerabilities, coupled with the massive size of the industry in the United States, has led to an increase in security incidents across the healthcare sector that will only continue to increase as time goes on. There was a 42 percent increase in security breaches in 2015 compared to 2014, for example, and there were 180 healthcare data breaches that occurred in September of 2015 alone.

    All of this underlines the point that healthcare facilities need to band together to adopt uniform data security standards to help cut off these data breaches before they have a chance to snowball into much bigger, costly and more dangerous issues down the road. Whether that will actually happen remains to be seen.

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    Martin Horan

    Founder of Sharetru (Formerly FTP Today) and a respected voice in secure file transfer and Internet protocols. A software and IT geek since a young age, Martin has successfully led his companies through the digital age by spotting market niches and filling them with quality IT services.

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