Securing healthcare networks begins with encryption
Medical facilities have become a tremendous repository of patient information. Filled with personally identifiable information such as Social Security numbers and billing account data, hospital networks have become a tantalizing target for cyberthieves. Research think tank the Ponemon Institute released a study showing that 94 percent of hospitals had experienced a cybersecurity breach. Keeping that sensitive data out of the wrong hands requires a concerted effort to safeguard healthcare systems at every level. According to one security expert, the backbone of any quality cybersecurity protocol is the implementation of encryption and authentication techniques.
For the Drayer Physical Therapy Institute, a network comprised of 105 healthcare clinics, patient data security is a paramount concern. Chief Security Officer Vic Wadhawan recently spoke to Health IT Security about what steps his organization has taken to protect client information. The key to preventing cyberthieves from acquiring and abusing sensitive data is maintaining encryption measures at all levels. That includes encrypting files stored on a hospital's server, but also protecting in-transit information. With the frequency that medical facilities are exchanging information with other hospitals, it is essential that encryption protocols are in place to protect that data. SSL and code signing certificates can be installed to secure that information and to verify software integrity respectively.
Although other security measures are needed to keep hackers at bay, encryption is a standard practice for protecting sensitive healthcare information. When data breaches occur at medical facilities, the results can be devastating due to the potential risk of identity theft and fraud. Encryption techniques can prevent cyberthieves from ever accessing that information. With the number of medical facility data breaches on the rise, clamping down on cybertheft is vital to maintaining patient confidence in the industry.
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