5 Essential steps to defend against insider threats in healthcare

by info December 07, 2023

Among the most pressing issues that the healthcare sector must grapple with are insider threats. To protect confidential records, financial information, and patient data, healthcare organizations must take proactive measures to safeguard their systems. Here are five essential steps your healthcare business should take to protect against insider threats.

Educate

Healthcare employees must be thoroughly educated on patient privacy, data security, and the potential risks that accompany certain behaviors. It is also essential for them to understand the proper uses and disclosures of protected health information (PHI). For instance, some staff may be tempted to look up the medical records of a prominent person admitted to their hospital. You need to make it crystal clear that such behavior is unacceptable, and that any violation of PHI policy will have serious consequences.

Deter

Another way to protect your organization is by developing and enforcing policies and procedures that deter insider threats. This includes making sure employees understand the repercussions of violations and privacy breaches under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. For example, you may want to set up a system where employees must sign in and out when accessing patient records. You may also implement regular audits of employee activities or set up a system of multiple layers of authentication.

Detect

It is critical that your organization has the capability to quickly detect and respond to potential data breaches. To do this, you need to have the right tools in place, such as an intrusion detection system or a data loss prevention solution. You should also monitor your network closely for suspicious activity and have processes in place for responding to incidents. Any attempt to access, use, or copy PHI should be logged and investigated as soon as possible.

Investigate

To efficiently reduce its impact, any privacy and security breach must be promptly examined in detail once discovered. Once the cause of the breach is identified, your organization needs to implement measures to keep breaches from happening in the future.

Train

Most importantly, you need to ensure that all healthcare personnel are properly trained in security policies and procedures. It is essential that staff understand the risks associated with handling patient data and the importance of protecting it. Regular training sessions should be conducted to familiarize staff with the latest technology and security protocols, as cybersecurity risks are constantly evolving.

Protecting healthcare data from insider threats is more than just about staying compliant with industry regulations. It’s also vital to protecting the privacy of your patients and your staff, as well as the reputation of your healthcare organization.

To learn more about the best ways to protect your healthcare organization’s data, reach out to our knowledgeable experts today.