Cybersecurity Best Practices for Hospitals to Safeguard Their Organization

Tempo Technology Services
Tempo Technology Services

In today’s digital age, it’s becoming increasingly likely for healthcare organizations to undergo a cyberattack, with the unyielding evolution of technology and as cybercriminals grow more adept at exploiting vulnerabilities in the healthcare sector.

Image courtesy of Zippia

Amid the complex realm of healthcare cybersecurity, one concerning statistic stands out: 82% of data breaches are at least partially caused by human error. This underscores the critical need for healthcare organizations to foster a culture of cyber-awareness. To fortify defenses and ensure the security of patient data, healthcare organizations should adopt an array of best practices that address both the human element and technical aspects of cybersecurity.

1. Know Your Environment

Hospital IT leaders should thoroughly understand their infrastructure, security practices, and potential vulnerabilities, including operational structures, solution inventories, and configurations.

2. Develop a Comprehensive Disaster Recovery Plan

A complete disaster recovery plan ensures your hospital is prepared if an attack requires system restoration. Key components are:

  • Assessing the business impact to align recovery time with hospital needs
  • Ensuring infrastructure supports recovery requirements
  • Defining clear, efficient recovery processes for crucial applications
  • Safeguarding critical data integrity and recoverability during disasters
  • Establishing a communications plan for disaster declaration and incident reporting

3. Implement Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is “an authentication method that requires the user to provide two or more verification factors to gain access to a resource.” This is essential to enhance security and safeguard healthcare data.

4. Educate and Train Staff 

Prioritize staff training to prevent cyberattacks. Continuous education, including simulated phishing tests, is vital to mitigate social engineering vulnerabilities.

5. Ensure Location Gap and Air Gap Backups 

Use cloud-based services to replicate backups, ensuring location gap and air gap protection – an electronically disconnected or offline copy of your data that cannot be accessed – to guarantee backups are free from malware.

6. Test Security Operations

On average, it takes healthcare organizations 295 days to detect a cyberattack. Actively test security operations to identify inefficiencies, enhance awareness, responsiveness, and readiness for real attacks. Security operations testing can include:

7. Adopt Zero Trust

Move to a Zero Trust model that verifies every access request, emphasizing user identity, location, device health, and data classification. Always assume the least privileged access and operate under the assumption of a breach until proven otherwise.

In a world where cyberattacks are a constant threat, these practices are indispensable for safeguarding sensitive healthcare data and maintaining the continuity of patient care.

The Role of Tempo Technology Services

Tempo Technology Services offers three critical solutions to assist hospitals in their cybersecurity journey:

  • Managed Services: Tempo professionals provide service desk operations, managed security, server, and infrastructure support, as well as ongoing change management in a user-focused, consumable platform.
  • Professional Services: Tempo understands your technology environment, whether it’s virtual CIO and interim leader support, data integration, enterprise architecture, systems engineering on demand, or IT build-out and migrations.
  • Procurement: Tempo procures hardware, logistics services, biomed, and key devices to simplify decision-making for our clients and optimize the clinical environments in which their clinicians deliver care.

Cybersecurity threats are an unfortunate reality in today’s healthcare landscape, but they can be mitigated through proper training and proactive measures. Hospitals must prioritize cybersecurity best practices and consider partnering with experts like Tempo Technology Services to strengthen their defenses.