The Covid-19 pandemic has proven as havoc across the world, and healthcare service providers are busy fighting this deadly situation. Millions of people have been affected by this disease, and hospitals are getting overcrowded for many months. In these crucial times, securing healthcare data is of prime importance as attackers usually wait for such crises to take advantage of loopholes in the system. People are scared due to viruses and hence not being much careful, which offers an undue advantage to the miscreants. Though in routine life also the security of the system must be of paramount importance, and due to such pandemic it holds more significance now.
Healthcare Security In The Age Of Coronavirus.
The network security aspects of the healthcare industry have to be upgraded at every stage so that data can be secured in the best possible way. Attackers usually do not focus on a single system or device while mining healthcare data. They usually focus on the entire network and stay inactive for a long time. When the critical time arrives, they start mining data, and it often goes unnoticed for many weeks and months. By the time developers notice such loopholes, the damage would have already happened.
We have observed this pattern in recent years, and malware programs can easily get into a secured network without raising a lot of attention. This has to be prevented in this coronavirus time so that critical healthcare data of millions of people stay secured in the future. The experts in the field have already taken serious note of some of the cases where the security of the system is compromised and offered benefits to those who want to take advantage of the same.
Why is the healthcare sector prone to cyber-attacks?
The healthcare sector has always been vulnerable to cyber attacks due to the critical nature of data it hosts about patients. Many companies in the insurance sector, pharma sector, and others get to benefit by having such data about patients. It helps them to plan their business moves in advance and be ready for future products and services in the healthcare sector. In this regard, there is good demand for medical data, and companies may not always get them through legal means. It spikes the demand to such a level that attackers target such data and sell them to beneficiary companies. Hence data security needs to be tighter by the users in this age of pandemic now.
Complying with state and federal regulations
The healthcare sector is also vulnerable due to their nature of operations. They are more focused on providing treatment to critical patients and saving lives daily. In this situation, data security gets minimal importance as they have to share the data with various sources in the process of providing treatment to patients. When there is a loophole in any part of the network, the data can get leaked. The healthcare sector is also burdened with having to follow various regulations set by state and federal authorities with regards to protocols. All these factors lead to a situation where the healthcare service providers are not able to apply the best data management procedures in their hospitals.
Securing every device will not solve the problem
Most people believe that securing individual devices that host critical data will resolve the issue. However, data has to move from that system to another during the entire process of treatment. In this situation, the concept of securing individual devices will not provide the right solution for healthcare security. Organizations have to deal with securing the network at every stage and be ready to face attacks at any point in time.
Network security is of utmost importance
The entire network of healthcare sectors has to be secured in order to provide complete safety for patient data. This is not an easy task, and professionals have to be employed at every stage of the network. This may also involve coordination between various organizations, both government and private, along with individuals who access healthcare services. Only when this is done, complete medical data security can be provided in the long run.
Dealing with Covid-19 crisis and network security
The aspect of network security becomes even more crucial in these times of coronavirus pandemic. The COVID-19 situation is going out of control all over the world, and doctors and medical support staff are working round the clock to save lives. In this crucial time, attackers can have a field day and get easy access to critical patient data that can be later used for malicious purposes. There is an urgent need to prevent such misuse of healthcare data, and proper network security has to be implemented by the concerned authorities.
How to Mitigate risk?
The best way to mitigate risk is to take a collective approach to healthcare security. The authorities have to pass on standards that need to be implemented by all healthcare practitioners. In this way, there will be a consensus among the healthcare service providers about the features that need to be implemented in the network. This can help them to find attacks before they can do much damage.
Future of healthcare sector
The future of healthcare sectors looks very challenging with the Covid-19 situation going out of control. Even if a vaccine is developed for this disease, it will be a huge challenge to bring it into mass production. The entire world is suffering from this problem, and a single vaccine may not be able to provide relief in every situation as various strains of the virus have spread in different parts of the world. Considering all these factors, the healthcare sector will have to go through a lot of troubles in the near future to bring the situation under control.
The security aspect of the healthcare sector will improve for the better with this crisis. As more attacks happen during this time of international crisis, the developers will learn more about cyberattacks, and they will eventually figure out new ways to prevent such attacks in the future. In the future, healthcare security will be better than what it is today.
With over 15 years as a practicing journalist, Nikki Attkisson found herself at Powdersville Post now after working at several other publications. She is an award-winning journalist with an entrepreneurial spirit and worked as a journalist covering technology, innovation, environmental issues, politics, health etc. Nikki Attkisson has also worked on product development, content strategy, and editorial management for numerous media companies. She began her career at local news stations and worked as a reporter in national newspapers.