Cybersecurity in Healthcare Industry: The Flaws and Potential Solutions

Published Date: April 7, 2017    Author: Saipriya Iyer

Ominous threats pertaining to software and hardware damage have prompted stricter implementation of secure systems, fueling cybersecurity in healthcare industry. With copious amounts of information about patients, hospital staff, health plans, insurance, medical experts, and hospital taxes, and accounting in store, healthcare industry is woefully vulnerable to cyberattacks at the drop of a hat. As a matter of fact, even though the penetration of cybersecurity in healthcare market has occurred since a very long time, security software needs to be periodically upgraded and maintained to combat cyber threats, which seem to be growing smarter and more sophisticated by the day.

More than 75% of the medical organizations have been severely affected by cyberattacks in the last 5 years. The primary reasons why the healthcare market falls prey to cyberattacks are the lack of a business-driven security approach, lenient government regulations, and the dearth of incorporating cybersecurity in healthcare devices. Global IT security spending is slated to cross USD 100 billion by 2018, as per reliable sources. The U.S. cybersecurity financial budget alone is projected to exceed 65 billion by 2020. Furthermore, out of the total Federal IT budget of 2016, more than 15% is allocated to cybersecurity. And yet, out of the total IT budget allocated to healthcare organizations, less than 5% is allocated to cybersecurity. Lack of investment is one of the major threats of cybersecurity healthcare industry.

Why is the implementation of cybersecurity in healthcare industry flawed?

Non-compliance with standard legislations

Healthcare organizations claim that they are compliant with the government standards of data security, however, surveys depict the opposite. For many healthcare companies, staying ‘compliant’ means, to ensure the least amenability with the standard regulations laid down by Government organizations. However, actual compliance entails undertaking stringent measures to keep up with the standards introduced by regulatory bodies pertaining to data security and cyberattacks.

Understanding the risk factor of cybersecurity in healthcare industry

Embedding the security network with advanced security products is not the solution to deal with data thefts and information damage. Healthcare security personnel need to address risk assessment as a primary strategy to combat security issues in the medical fraternity. Experts suggest that the percentage of hospitals and medical centers adopting a priority-based, persistent risk management program is merely above 20%. Most medical organizations do not deploy a sustainable risk assessment program to implement cybersecurity practices, leading to major loopholes in the security framework of cybersecurity healthcare industry.

Non-assimilation of cybersecurity in connected medical devices

Connected healthcare industry has already gained significant momentum over the last few years, driven by the innovative technological advancements and the huge scope of IoT in global healthcare market. Data security is bound to remain a key constraint for this industry. To combat the growing security issues, it is essential that medical organizations incorporate cybersecurity technology in connected medical devices. The medical sector has already witnessed significant adoption of embedded systems and smart devices, which will drive embedded system market in healthcare applications, set to grow at a CAGR of 6% over 2016-2023. However, it has been observed that many manufacturers have still not integrated advanced cybersecurity technology features into the design of medical devices, thus posing a hindrance to global cybersecurity in healthcare industry.

Not addressing data breaches in cybersecurity healthcare industry

Even though advanced security measures have been implemented across medical organizations, propelling cybersecurity in healthcare industry, not all of them are prepared to defend their information pool against cyberattacks. Statistics depict that more than 62% of healthcare insurance companies and more than 50% of medical experts seem to have braced themselves for unexpected data threats. Considering the trends of potential cybersecurity threats, more than 55% of medical organizations fear violation of privacy laws and more than 65% fear attacks from malware. More than 15% of medical organizations stated that they are unable to undertake real-time theft and damage detection. Most organizations don’t even report security breaches, fearing the loss of reputation.

Enabling better cybersecurity in healthcare industry:

Use Firewalls

Recent statistics project that healthcare market is likely to lose more than USD 5 billion annually due to security breaches. Deploying advanced firewall systems to ensure protection against data thefts and privacy threats is the first step toward addressing cybersecurity in healthcare industry. Software or hardware firewalls will secure patient information, insurance-related data, and other vulnerable records. 

Ensure Compliance

Medical organizations need to follow the regulations set by organizations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Ensuring compliance with the set standards of data security and protection will address the issues of cybersecurity in healthcare market.

Install Strong Anti-Virus Software

Medical companies must liaison with well-known, established vendors and install a highly powerful, dependable antivirus software into their database systems. Such software guarantee more than 99% protection from malware, phishing, denial of services, etc. This will fuel cybersecurity healthcare industry.

Ensure Periodic Upgradation for cybersecurity in healthcare industry and relevant products

Outdated software is a potential constraint for cybersecurity healthcare industry. While installing dependable antivirus software, medical organizations must see to it that the software is integrated with the feature of reupdating itself. Periodic updating will ensure that vulnerable information is not leaked out and remains within the confines of the hospital database. In addition, outdated IT hardware accounts for more than 30% of cybersecurity concerns, owing to which system hardware will require regular upgradation, to stay abreast of latest cybersecurity technology.

Propagate a security-driven organizational culture

Medical personnel must be well-trained in the latest cybersecurity technologies so that a flawless security framework is maintained within the organization. Vulnerable information about patients, hospital staff, medical experts, and healthcare executives must remain the prime mission for medical organizations. This will, in turn, significantly acknowledge the issues of cybersecurity in healthcare industry.

Create Backups

Backup creation is a mandate in most businesses, and cybersecurity healthcare market is no exception. Considering the mammoth repository of patient information, backup maintenance and recovery management are the standard norms. All the existing information must be stored separately with the help of backup solutions so that one set of data is readily available even if the original set falls prey to cyberattacks. This massive archive of information can be efficiently stored with the help of cloud computing technology. High requirement for confidentiality and growing deployment of the cloud in healthcare industry will drive global healthcare cloud computing market over 2016-2023.

Ensure Limited Access to Confidential Information

Access control is a vital component of cybersecurity technology. Electronic health information systems must never be accessed without the permission of he concerned authorities. Limiting the access to trustworthy, trained personnel within the organization will ensure that confidential data is not being misused or stolen. Permissions to access files must be set and assigned appropriately so that data breaches do not occur. Additionally, accurate credentials (that must be periodically changed) to log into the system will solve the issue of cybersecurity in healthcare market to a significant extent.

The digitization of healthcare records has led to the exposure of confidential information globally. Despite repeated attempts to revolutionize the implementation of cybersecurity in healthcare industry, data thefts continue to occur. Recent statistics state that in 2016, malware systems caused the loss of more than 260,000 patient records. In addition, more than 2 million patient records were stolen owing to unrestricted access. To deal with the rising number of intelligent cyberthreats, healthcare organizations need to deploy smart security systems and advanced data protection mechanisms, stimulating global cybersecurity healthcare industry.

Explore all reports by Global Market Insights, Inc. on healthcare industry and medical devices market at .

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