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Throughout 2018, the healthcare industry was heavily battered by data breaches, ultimately totalling 503 breaches throughout the year that affected almost 15.1 million patient records. Of all those breaches, not one of them occurred in South Dakota. What caused this? We have our suspicions, which we’ll discuss here.
While we suspect that luck was a major contributing factor, it is clear that South Dakota has been taking the threat of cyberattack seriously, at least in the healthcare industry. This would suggest that the healthcare providers of the Mount Rushmore State are, to put it simply, paying attention.
We’ve been paying attention to the relationship between healthcare and IT for quite some time, how emerging technologies are primed to revolutionize the industry. However, this attention has also allowed us to take note of the dangers that healthcare providers and other industry members face. As a result of this, KT Connections has been able to commit to providing these industry members with the solutions that will do more to benefit their particular security concerns.
Of course, this is the overwhelmingly critical need that any healthcare provider has to consider. After all, look at what kind of data this line of business takes in.
In addition to intimate and potentially compromising medical information, healthcare providers have possession of financial details and personally identifiable information. It’s really no wonder that these organizations are targeted by cybercriminals, which makes it all the more crucial that their network security meets the requisite standards. Taking note of this, our team has a recommendation for any healthcare providers to consider: a Unified Threat Management Device. One thing to remember is that even though you are a physician, you’re also a business owner, and like most businesses, your data is your most valuable asset. One that needs to be safe and secure and a UTM is one of the best things you can do to secure it.
This device guards the connection between the Internet and your network, analyzing all traffic with a litany of security measures and solutions. This prevents threats and risky behavior from both sides, and helps to maximize your potential productivity to boot. Another thing to consider is that the majority of breaches isn’t due to a brilliant programmer hacking your server, it’s most likely due to a team member visiting an unsafe website, or opening an email with a malware attachment... all things a UTM will prevent.
South Dakota features no shortage of medical providers, and while all were able to avoid security breaches in 2018, there’s no guarantee that the same will happen this year. For all we know, some practice somewhere in the state has already been breached.
Because we no longer have this guarantee, it is exceptionally important that healthcare providers don’t get complacent in their IT security or its improvements. Besides, there are plenty of considerations and IT challenges to take into account as a healthcare provider. One of the big ones is proper handling and securing of Electronic Medical Records.
This is perhaps one of the most valuable pieces of technology that can be leveraged in the medical field. By keeping a digital record of a patient’s medical history, it becomes much easier to check, cross-check, and update as necessary. This improves patient care, which in turn improves patient outcomes. This data is also very valuable as it often contains a wealth of personal information and is prime fodder for the dark web. So, it is essential that it’s protected.
Regardless of whether or not our state’s perfect zero-breach record has already been spoiled, we need to do our best to keep whatever tally we may have incurred as low as possible. Here at KT Connections, we can provide the solutions that enable you to protect your practice. Reach out to us to learn more!
Rodd Ahrenstorff is the Director of Business Operations for KT Connections, as well as a member of the company’s ownership team starting in 2014. Rodd has been working in the computer and telecommunication fields for over twenty years—a term during which he has held a number of leadership positions. In the past, he has served as a broadcast television engineer, an systems architect, and most recently Director of Information Technology, including a role as a HIPAA Security Officer for behavioral health and multi-specialty medical providers.