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How to Protect Your Practice from Data Theft

How to Protect Your Practice from Data Theft

Keeping your personal information safe is important, but when someone else entrusts you with their information, you have an obligation to protect it diligently and at all costs. It’s especially true since medical practices are one of the most heavily targeted because they contain an abundance of private information that hackers love to get their hands on.  

It seems like you frequently hear reports about others being hacked and you may wonder how you can safeguard your practice from this threat. This article will discuss three essential methods you can implement within your practice to provide data security. In a short amount of time, your practice can establish definable steps to form an effective program.

Cloud Technology

Cloud-hosted applications are a great way to be proactive when initiating security measures within your practice. Cloud-hosted applications will provide for automatic regular data backup and recovery while keeping your patient data and financial records secure and accessible.

You want a cloud solution that makes security their top priority. One that recognizes the concerns pediatric offices experience and can help ease your worries of data breaches. Be sure the cloud is hosted in a maximum-security environment, using the latest technology. Not to mention, you want to make sure it integrates all the mandatory regulations within the system to ensure the confidentiality that will maintain HIPAA compliance.    

Having your data available in the cloud makes it accessible at any time. All that is required is an internet connection. Cloud applications can offer data encryptions and anti-virus products for added protection. When a private, separate system stores your data, potential threats are isolated, keeping your data secure, and making you less susceptible to attacks.    

Password Protection

You can’t navigate the online world without scores of passwords to gain you admittance. Did you know that many employees are not creating strong passwords, nor are they using them correctly? Reports have shown that 81% of data breaches relate to weak password security. 

For one thing, creating a password doesn’t need to be a complex task. Difficult passwords that you write on a post-it note or save on the computer are more likely to be stolen, compared to a password you store in your head. 

There are systems available that will help keep your employees’ passwords safe. One of these is Keeper Security, which will manage your passwords to prevent data breaches. It can reduce employee frustration of having to remember and keep a record of passwords, it will strengthen compliance standards, and bolster security and privacy.  

Developing and enforcing a password policy within your practice will help prevent unapproved password sharing and offer guidelines on how to create strong passwords. Moreover, it will keep the staff up to date on current recommendations. 

Staff Education

Staff education is a significant measure in protecting your data. Your practice is only as strong as your weakest employee. Keep in mind, security threats can be internal or external. Thus, the strongest course of action is to make sure all of your employees are confident at recognizing and preventing a data breach. 

Most data exposure results from human error. Clicking on a malicious link or downloading a file can wreak havoc within your electronic health system. If an employee recognizes the impact of their actions, they are more likely to be compliant and remain proactive in preventing security threats. 

At the time of hire, begin with a comprehensive training program and continue to provide educational in-services that are regular and consistent. A great security awareness program is KnowBe4, which combines training with simulated phishing attacks that will enable your employees to make smarter decisions in protecting your company. 

To learn how you can maintain and improve your practice’s cybersecurity with more best practices, check out Security Best Practices All Pediatric Practices Should Follow.

David James, CISSP, CEH
djames@officepracticum.com


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