The healthcare industry handles incredibly sensitive data; you’d hope it would be one of the most secure industries around but healthcare data breaches are growing at a rapid pace.
Unfortunately, a 2019 report has found that, in 2018, one in three healthcare organizations experienced healthcare data breaches. Conducted by Thales and research analysis firm IDC, the survey claimed that no other industry experienced as many breaches.
Kaspersky Lab made a similar report at the end of 2018. A third of healthcare workers claimed their company had experienced an attack by cybercriminals, successful or not.
As data storage and retrieval methods change. It has become increasingly important for organizations who store patient data to put in place protective methods. Patient data is highly desirable for cybercriminals and it must be protected at all costs. If not, healthcare data breaches will continue to skyrocket.
One of the biggest threats facing data security is the rapid adoption of cloud storage. Organizations are switching to the cloud faster than they’re adapting their security to its unique challenges — and cybercriminals are reaping the benefits.
Low Level Encryption Means High Level Risk
The vice-president of market strategy for cloud protection and licensing activity at Thales, Tine Stewart, explained their report revealed the risk to patient data from rapid cloud adoption.
“Data security is increasingly complex, particularly for healthcare organizations immersed in cloud and digital transformation initiatives. The focus should be to encrypt everything in the cloud and keep control of the data by centrally managing the keys to the encrypted data,” Stewart said.
A key finding of the study was to highlight that it’s simply not enough for healthcare organizations to assume they are uploading their data to a secure platform and call it a day. Even the best cloud storage systems are vulnerable. The data must still be protected even when it’s stored on the cloud. Preventing healthcare data breaches is paramount to all organizations.
This risk was illustrated in a sobering statistic: 100% of healthcare organizations collect, store, and share sensitive data with digital transformation technologies. Only 38% were encrypting this information.
One would think that with the rise of digital transformation technologies and cyber crimes, IT security would be on the rise. Depressingly, the study found the reverse — IT security spending is decreasing, leaving shrinking security resources for handling a growing threat. Thus you see a dramatic increase in healthcare data breaches.
Barriers to Security and Healthcare Data Breaches
Digital transformation technologies such as cloud computing and storage are meant to make our lives easier and more connected. Healthcare organizations are finding just the opposite; the increased complexity of dealing with cloud storage is the single biggest barrier to adequately securing cloud-base data.
46% of those surveyed in the study said that complexity was the top barrier to deploying data security. Again this lead to a large number of healthcare data breaches.
This was also reflected in the volume of respondents who admitted to failing a data security compliance audit in the previous year. At least one in four said they’d failed such an audit.
There were four key recommendations to help mitigate risk based on the report’s findings:
- Focus on all threat vectors;
- Invest in modern, hybrid and multi-cloud-based data security solutions that scale to modern architectures;
- Prioritize compliance issues; and,
- Adopt new data security strategies, including encryption and access management.
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