It begs the question, with data security incidents on the rise. Should HIPAA privacy and security training take precedence over cybersecurity training?

We live in a time where internet information security and privacy are not always guaranteed. In 2020, data breaches cost healthcare organisations a lot of money. And cybersecurity-related incidents make for the majority of the reported data breaches.

In fact, from January to November 2020, 79 percent of healthcare data breaches were attributed to cybersecurity. In addition, the number of cyberattacks climbed by 45 percent from November 2020 to January 2021. It is a cause for alarm among healthcare professionals.

Why is healthcare the largest target?

For a long time, fraudsters have been focusing their efforts on the healthcare business. Healthcare data is in high demand since it contains very valuable personal information such as social security numbers, financial information, dates of birth, names, insurance information, and more. According to the InfoSec Institute, this information can be sold on the black market for up to $362. This information is also used by cybercriminals for fraudulent billing and a variety of other personal gains.

To safeguard your company from cyber-attacks, you can’t simply stop utilising the internet. Millions of health records are exchanged on the internet today, and millions of individuals, including doctors and nurses, use it for a variety of purposes, including actions involving PHI (Protected Health Information). Because the data is available online, despite the guarded walls, this puts firms vulnerable to hacker attempts.

Encouragement for solid cybersecurity practises

The United States has only lately started steps to address healthcare cybersecurity. Healthcare providers who have been the victims of a number of cyberattacks may see their penalties and enforcement actions reduced.

On January 5, President Trump signed a new bill known as the HIPAA Safe Harbor (H.R. 7898) into law, revising the HITECH Act.

If covered companies and business partners use adequate cybersecurity procedures, this modification could assist them defend against HIPAA investigations. By cutting fines and narrowing the scope of audits, the law intends to motivate healthcare providers to follow industry-standard best security procedures.

This statute, however, does not protect healthcare practitioners from all accountability. Instead, these businesses can protect themselves from large fines or shorten the period of an audit.

Before issuing fines and enforcement proceedings, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) must now assess the cybersecurity safeguards in place 12 months previous to the incident. This will only apply if a business has already implemented and followed solid cybersecurity policies that have been recognised by legal authorities.

Who needs cybersecurity training?

To put it another way, everyone. Anyone who uses a computer for company business in today’s highly digitally-engaged workplace must understand how to keep company data safe. In today’s world, we take computer security mechanisms for granted. Cyberattacks have also become more sophisticated, in addition to increasing in volume.

It is impossible to overstate the relevance of cybersecurity training in the healthcare industry. Although a few providers provide cybersecurity training as part of their HIPAA Security training, the vast majority do not.

According to a Kaspersky analysis, nearly a third of polled healthcare personnel (32 percent) said their employers never provided them with cybersecurity training. Furthermore, one out of every ten managers was unaware that their organisation had a cybersecurity policy in place. In addition, nearly 40% of healthcare professionals in the United States were unaware of the cybersecurity procedures at place to protect IT devices in their workplace.

HIPAA Compliance and Cybersecurity

The majority of recent data breaches have been caused by cybersecurity-related incidents. Healthcare providers who were the victims of such attacks were, unfortunately, subjected to HIPAA fines. HIPAA compliance and cybersecurity are two sides of the same coin, according to this study.

Cyberattacks are nearly always unavoidable. With effective training and execution, however, the repercussions or chance of a violation can be reduced. Find third-parties with expertise in cybersecurity and training to assist you if you lack the necessary tools and resources. Alternatively, like several big providers do, you might use HIPAA compliance software.

It’s critical to include cybersecurity in your HIPAA security training. Because of the COVID-19 epidemic, the healthcare industry has become increasingly reliant on IT devices and internet access, making data security more vulnerable than ever.

Employees will be aware of some of the cyber hazards they may face on a regular basis if they receive sufficient training. The following are a few crucial areas to concentrate on:

  • Creating a culture of safety
  • How to Keep Your Mobile Devices Safe
  • Encourage staff to create unique passwords and update them on a regular basis.
  • When the unexpected occurs, how should you react?
  • Access to protected health information must be restricted.
  • Hacking attempts, phishing attacks, ransomware, and malware are all things to be aware of.
  • Encouraging employees to keep their antivirus software up to date.
  • How to keep your computer habits in check

Your defence is only as strong as your weakest link

Employees are frequently the weakest link in your company’s security. As a result, it is your obligation to equip them with the necessary knowledge so that they can apply it to the security of your company and assure compliance. Use HIPAA compliance software to streamline training if you have too much on your plate. If you are the victim of a data breach, you should not make any excuses.

The passage of the HIPAA Safe Harbor Act could not have happened at a better moment. If you only use proper security methods, you will not only be able to defend against an audit or investigation, but you will also be able to limit the likelihood of damaging cyberattacks.

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