Data is the goldmine of the world. Technological developments around the world are generating a lot of data and this data is one of the most prized possessions that organizations and governments across the world hold. There are many reasons why data being an intellectual property can build or completely destroy an organization. One of the main reasons is because data is helping organizations make decisions in the modern world. These decisions can alter the course of a business in the market. In other words, it can help them build a reputation, satisfy the customer’s demands and help in carving a niche in the market.
Put differently, data can work miraculously for a business. Having said this, data has monetary value in the modern world. In the black market, data depending on the nature of the industry can have different monetary values and can be used to create all sorts of havoc. Right from sabotaging an organization’s reputation to tampering with the data and selling it to illegal vendors, hackers and cyber attackers look at the data as a predator looks at a prey.
Take the healthcare industry as an example. Being of immense value, the industry has an abundance of data. This data is on the form of patient records such as their age, name, contact information, medical history, previous prescriptions, among others. These people’s identifiable information is of much value to the industry. Organizations and researchers use all this information to come up with wonderful studies and research that can alter the course of the healthcare industry. Moreover, with machine learning and artificial intelligence in the picture, this data is even more valuable to come up with effective diagnosis practices.
Statistics suggest that a single healthcare record can value up to $250 in the black market. With such great monetary motivation, predators constantly eye healthcare records and look for breaches in an organization’s security system. While organizations might not recognize it too soon, it is too late when they wake up. According to a report by the Healthcare IT News, one of the first attacks of 2018 in the healthcare industry was purely motivated by financial gains and made the organization shut down their systems while their patient’s data was held, hostage.
Similarly, in Many last year, the attack on the American Medical Collection Agency (AMCA) went undetected for eight straight months, causing havoc and jeopardizing the data of as much as 20 million patients. The main cause of vulnerability of the healthcare data is the interconnected systems. Healthcare organizations have no choice but to share data with third-party vendors for a variety of reasons such as for research purposes or for diagnosis etc. This creates a position of opportunity for hackers to penetrate into the system and challenge a network’s interconnectivity.
What Can be Done?
With the current pace of attacks going on in the world, especially in the healthcare industry, organizations might feel helpless at the moment. But, even though the problem at hand is huge, it isn’t something that the IT department of an organization cannot handle. All one needs to do is start taking the appropriate measures as soon as possible to stop creating any room for new vulnerabilities in the network.
Healthcare organizations must start acting as if there is a current threat to their network. This means they need to begin by identifying who is on their network, when are they on their network, why are they on their network, and what all did they do when they were on the network. With this information in the picture, organizations can more accurately act upon their network and restrict access to parties that are irrelevant. For example, the client, vendor or the end-user can have limited access to the network, which directly depends upon their requirements and needs of the moment.
Once the strength on the network is gained, IT departments of an organization can act upon the security policies of their organization and make it more restrictive. The next step is to identify potential threats existing in the system. But this can’t be simply done by looking into the organization. Healthcare Software development experts in a healthcare organization must start looking into external relationships and then work up a plan that comes to the shore of their network. This means directly digging into the network where third party connections are established.
Make sure you’re using the latest technology or update available to safeguard your intellectual property. After all, the available technology is out there and even used by hackers and cyber attackers to make more sophisticated and deep attacks, Therefore, unless you are prepared for multiple such attacks by deploying the best technology out there, there is no way that you will survive if and when an attack happens.
Since most of the healthcare organizations are storing their data on the cloud, the attack surface for these organizations is considerably increasing and becoming a cause of worry. Therefore, organizations must map this attack surface and note all points of entry or the high-risk points that make it to different kinds of accesses in the network.
With so much information already present and recent cases of attacks coming up every single day, healthcare organizations need to invest more heavily in their IT setups. Even a single gap in the data-sharing network can cause immense havoc in the organization that can go undetected for months and leads to intellectual and financial losses of a great degree.
This directly means that the patient’s life is at risk and researches can go to waste due to the tampering in the data. Therefore, whether healthcare organizations lie in the public or private domain, they must not neglect security at any cost and start working towards it immediately, if they haven’t till now.