By Ashutosh Verma
Security obligations in the healthcare sector are very diverse and novel as compared to other sectors. More so since both the accumulation of data and access of data is from various endpoints. For example, data regarding a particular patient is collected through multiple sources like hospital and lab records, insurance records, fitness apps, trackers and devices, health portals and many more sources. At the same time, the data collected is accessed by medical professionals across various devices.
A patient’s consolidated data can be considered a goldmine for hackers, giving them a comprehensive biography of an individual, including basic information, health patterns, family history, and financial details. Recent researches prove that the price of an extensive health record can be as large as 50x the price of the same individual’s credit card history.
The medians of administering and data access in the healthcare segment transpires from various endpoints, which can be considered the weak points of the healthcare data management system and can open up an infringement in the medical data management infrastructure. Add to this the perspective of physicians and doctors accessing the collected data from unsecured public networks through various devices and you have gaps in the data security instating at undefined locations for the hackers to utilise.
An investigation has revealed that approximately 58 per cent of the data gaps and breaches in healthcare systems and organizations transpire from third party associates who have access to the compiled data. In addition, another study mentioned that over 41 per cent of healthcare organisations do not safeguard their web access points, nor do they have any security installed in their data collection and access systems. Almost one-third of their employees granted remote access to their systems, making it easy for hackers to access and collect patient data and medical records.
Data collection systems have advanced to store and record on a data cloud-based server. Unfortunately, along with multiple access points across numerous hospitals and physicians, the access points become a susceptive zone for data theft and data loss with the requirement to restrict the access from internal representatives and external specialists and the endpoint’s access granted to third-party business partner resources.
The current compliance measures to safeguard medical records and data are only reactive, chastening the healthcare organisation for data breaches after being stolen. The hour requires having an intrepid look at data security in the healthcare sector.
While a few extensive healthcare businesses in India probably oversee their IT infrastructure according to the US assent acts, a large majority of healthcare service providers in the country do not have any security devices and software installed to limit data breaches. In a vast country like India, this concerns the modest healthcare providers set up in the lanes and by-lanes of the country who collect patient information and typically administer medical advice to patients. A healthcare investigation highlighted that approximately 25 per cent of data breaches result from 1-100 employees organisations.
The healthcare industry should hold data security in high regard and be vigilant about the consequence of information they compile about individuals over the duration of their medical treatments. However, the sector’s challenge is primarily due to the excess entry and access points, making it difficult for an individual organization to implement a robust data security system.
The healthcare provider’s IT foundation must include these two viewpoints in its blueprint. The healthcare industry must implement Profile-based secure access of corporate applications and data. Safe access needs should be free of the device and the network used to access the data. For a secure system, every healthcare provider IT department must include a CISO as part of the IT team. They must implement a robust security system from the foundation of the IT systems used by healthcare organisations. These security systems must be included and implemented at the end of every third-party partner who needs access to the collected data. Including a regular audit to ensure the data security has not been breached and help identify weak infrastructure links.
Setting up a robust security system is more than just employing an innovative IT technician. It includes regular audits to ensure the data security has not been breached and help identify weak infrastructure links. And a proactive approach to managing the security systems and data access points.