In 2015 a data breach in Anthem Inc., the largest health insurance company in the US, laid bare the personal informal of more than 79 million people. This included sensitive information like address, birth date, social security number, income and employment information. In 2017 a Cancer Services Center in Indiana was hacked and information held for ransom by a cyber criminal gang.
Cyber attacks can leave the IT security in a healthcare organisation vulnerable to theft, ransom and serious damage. Yet, we find that most organisation simply do not bother with healthcare software development in security. Many see it as unnecessary or too expensive. Such organisations also typically pay less attention to data security as it is not directly related to their core functions. Fortunately, tightening security norms are now forcing many organisation to pay attention to this extremely ignored area.
Why we need Healthcare IT Security
The reason many organisations do not bother with stricter cyber security is because the lack of it affects patients more than their own functioning. So, the question is why you must invest in a proper security framework? Is run-of-the-mill software security enough or must you buy the software that is developed specifically to meet strict security standards? Yes, you must ensure the best security when dealing with healthcare IT and here are the reasons:
Healthcare organisations deal with a lot of sensitive information. They have to take down financial, personal and professional information, which includes highly sensitive data like bank account number, Aadhar card number, birthdate, address, employment number and so on.
When taken together, this is highly important information that can be easily use for identity theft. Think about it, you won’t disclose all this information to any stranger and are highly advised to not indulge this over phone or chat with anyone. On an unprotected database, this information is displayed for anyone to use in a readymade format!
Loss of reputation
It may not affect your regular working, but remember, it does cause a loss of reputation. People are becoming increasingly aware of the vulnerability of leaving their digital footprints open for theft. When organisations play fast and loose with their personal information, it can cause serious damage to their reliability and responsibility. People now expect that you will be as careful as other industries that deal with data, such as financial institutions. You are now expected to have the right healthcare software development in place.
Protection from ransom
It is a mistaken belief that the hacking of data can only expose the consumer information and not expose your own weaknesses. With tightening regulations in cyber infrastructure, many organisations now understand the vulnerability that a hacking can cause for their own functioning.
Cyber criminals do not discriminate in the information they collect. Very often they will also hold data that could be sensitive for the organisation itself. This data can be used to hold you for ransom, as has happened in a number of cyber theft cases. Investing in the best healthcare software development security system you can find will minimise the chances of such theft.
Cyber attacks come in many forms. Some criminals simply paralyse all the IT functions. Given that most administrative functions are carried out digitally today, the intentional shut down of IT functions can completely paralyse the working of an organisation. To prevent this, one tactic is to create backups.
But even with the best of backups in place, the attack can still cause disruptions and stop normal work from going on. Disruptions can cause havoc when organisations like large hospitals are involved where delays can literally mean the difference between life and death. So, while backups are essential, you also need to minimise the possibility of disruptions. This is only possible if you have excellent security.
Avoiding legal penalty
With a number of cases coming up that expose sensitive information and healthcare organisations’ lax attitude towards security, the government was forced to step in. As with any other industry that deals with financial and personal information, hospitals, clinics and other health institutions are now expected to have a similar security framework in place.
It is important to understand here that no software is completely foolproof. Given enough time and with the right expertise, any software can be hacked. But with the best healthcare software development available today, you can slow down such attacks and make it too untenable for a criminal. At the very least, it can provide you with enough time to take corrective action.