Healthcare businesses can reduce the risks they face by partnering with an MSP to improve both cybersecurity and network infrastructure.
Working in the healthcare field is all about reducing risks. From individual patients to doctors’ practices, medical suppliers, and hospitals, you strive to promote the best outcomes.
Healthcare is an industry where it only makes sense to have as much control as possible—especially over your I.T. performance. If you need to improve your technological solutions in order to deliver better patient care, a managed service provider (MSP) can help.
Here are several ways an MSP can improve security and reduce risk for your healthcare business.
What Risks Do Healthcare Businesses Face?
Healthcare access is often a matter of life and death—every business in the industry is an important link in the chain that brings care to the people who need it. A company in the field of healthcare needs to be there for the doctors and patients who rely on its services, but there are a number of risks that can jeopardize their ability to do so.
The main risk clinics, healthcare suppliers, and hospitals face is data theft. Still, network downtime and a lack of compliance with HIPAA guidelines can also pose significant challenges to the day to day running of their businesses.
Managing these uncertainties on your own can be beyond the resources of a small to medium-sized business, and that’s when it makes sense for an MSP to step in and provide comprehensive I.T. support.
How Can Managed Services Reduce These Risks?
MSPs deal with risks like those faced by your healthcare business every day, meaning they’re uniquely equipped to offer guidance and support. The technology they have access to is up-to-date and designed to support a large volume of data and traffic, making it ideal for your business’s needs.
With the support of a managed service provider, you no longer have to devote valuable time and resources to managing risk—you can leave it to professionals and focus on helping patients get quality medical care.
Why Healthcare Businesses Need to Improve SecurityPatient records are a treasure trove of information for identity thieves because they contain financial and personal information and are often not as secure as other types of information such as bank records.
According to HIPAA Journal, the number of major data breaches impacting 500 or more records has been steadily increasing since 2009, with 2018 showing the most security breaches yet recorded. These breaches have caused the theft and exposure of 189,945,874 healthcare records—that equates to over half of the U.S. population over a period of fewer than ten years. As of 2018, the average cost of an enterprise-level data breach was $1.41 million.
Alarmingly, Health I.T. Security reports that these statistics are on the rise in 2019. A breach of the American Medical Collection Agency in the first half of the year exposed 20 million patient records from LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics, among others. The massive breach was not even discovered until the stolen medical records were seen being sold on the dark web.
Numbers of this magnitude show that healthcare businesses cannot afford to ignore the very real possibility that their records will be targeted.
If your business has not yet experienced a data breach, you are likely to in the future; it’s not a matter of if, but when. Knowing this, there are several steps you can take with the help of an MSP to ensure that your business operates safely.
Types of Cybersecurity Threats
The majority of data breaches occur because hackers were given a way in by someone within the company who didn’t know the warning signs to watch for.
This usually occurs via phishing, a technique that involves emailing employees and getting them to divulge passwords or other credentials that will let thieves access company records. These attacks usually employ fake website forms such as those used for password recovery.Spear phishing is a type of targeted phishing attack in which the email appears to be coming from a trusted sender, usually someone within the company. The person targeted gives up their login information as a result of social engineering tactics used by hackers. Because these emails resemble communications shared within the company, they can be very difficult to identify until it’s too late.
Other techniques used to acquire data include malware attacks aimed at getting the target to install keylogging software that can capture personal data. Cybercriminals also use ransomware to target the healthcare industry. This malicious software makes files and systems inaccessible until a ransom is paid, and it is usually introduced through email attachments, links, and ads.
Lost or stolen equipment such as laptops, smartphones, and USB drives can also fall into the hands of thieves, giving them an access point to reach sensitive information.
How Can Managed Services Help?
The threats faced by the healthcare industry are serious, but there are effective ways to combat them.
Employee error causes most data breaches (such as replying to phishing emails), so cybersecurity training is one of the best methods for combating online threats. An MSP can provide training that gives employees the tools to recognize suspicious emails and identify other ways malicious actors could try to access patient data.
If you know what’s happening on your network, it’s much easier to respond to threats like DDoS attacks, which use artificial bot traffic to crash websites and servers. You also know about outages almost instantaneously, meaning they can be fixed before they become a problem.Managed service providers continually measure response time, availability, and uptime, and with network monitoring software, you can also stay informed about your network performance at all times.
Most MSPs specialize in business continuity and disaster recovery. This means that in the event of a data breach or power outage, they will recover any lost information from secure backup servers.
First, you will create a business continuity plan detailing what procedures are to be followed in the event of a disruptive event such as a power failure or natural disaster. Your MSP will assist in the creation of this plan, as well as its implementation in the aftermath of a disaster, so that you can get back to work as soon as possible. Some providers will also offer access to a secondary physical location to resume work.
Improving Infrastructure to Reduce Risk
Another way to mitigate the risks faced by your business is to improve the I.T. infrastructure you use. This makes downtime and data loss much less likely, ensuring that patient records and your own financial information remain secure.An MSP can update all aspects of your I.T. systems with the best available options for secure data storage and easy access for authorized users.
In addition to improving functionality, using the most recent versions of software and operating systems leaves fewer vulnerabilities for cybercriminals to exploit. As well as these structural improvements, your MSP can even help you stay current with HIPAA regulations.
Secure Cloud Hosting
Cloud servers offer solutions that go beyond just storing data . With cloud hosting services, your desktop, software applications, and data can all be accessed remotely by any authorized employee. This not only improves security, but it also makes communication and collaboration much simpler for users.
Unlike older servers that can only be accessed through connected devices, with cloud servers, you can log in and find the information you need from anywhere and using almost any internet-connected device.
If your company works with remote employees and contractors, cloud servers can help you get to work with simplicity as well as security.
If you haven’t replaced your network hardware in the last decade or more, you probably experience frequent outages and slow downloads. This is not only an inconvenience—it can put your information in jeopardy.
As network infrastructure gets older, it requires costly maintenance and patches to keep functioning, which can cost your company a large amount of money over time. An MSP can replace cables and network devices with the latest technology to ensure that your business runs at optimum speed instead of lagging behind.
Most managed service providers offer guaranteed uptime of over 99.9%, which can greatly improve a healthcare business owner’s peace of mind.
This is especially vital if your business relies on a fast internet connection to get things done. A slow connection (or no connection) means lost productivity, and that lost time adds up. If your current network connection leaves you rolling the dice, managed services can help you connect with confidence.
In addition to improving the security and performance of network architecture, an MSP can also simplify your company’s operations by providing access to proprietary software, as well as training in how to use it.
If each employee can log in and share work instantly, you can remove bottlenecks and improve efficiency. Software solutions for network monitoring, shared desktop, and other applications are available.
Better Storage Capability
If you currently rely on aging in-house servers and other hardware to store your data, transitioning to secure cloud computing could be the solution you’ve been looking for. Cloud storage offers near-limitless memory with the added benefit of not having to maintain costly servers on the premises, which involves high overhead costs.
If your healthcare business is in the process of expanding, it might be time to consider expanding your storage capability with the help of a managed service provider.
If you are unsure of how to begin upgrading your I.T. systems, an MSP can point you toward some first steps. For example, they can evaluate your servers and other devices to determine whether it would be better to supplement your existing hardware storage or migrate your data to the cloud.
If you need to find an I.T. solution that is both sustainable and cost-effective, consulting with experts will steer you in the right direction. Whether you have some definite improvements in mind or you “don’t know what you don’t know,” your MSP can provide the information you need to move forward.
An MSP can help your business stay up to date with HIPAA regulations, removing a significant obstacle to continuing operations. With tools like HIPAA compliant email archiving, your managed service provider will ensure that your data is safe, and your business meets all the necessary guidelines.
MSPs perform industry-specific HIPAA requirement assessments that can give you the tools to stay compliant and avoid shutdowns and costly penalties due to unexpected new regulations. HIPAA services include risk analysis, a management plan, and regular compliance reports.
Remote Help Desk Services
Companies that rely on a small I.T. department expend a lot of resources on fixing everyday network and computer problems. This leaves little time and budget left over for needed improvements.
Fortunately, 24/7 technical support is available through managed service providers, often with a dedicated team that knows your business and its unique requirements.
By outsourcing your help desk needs to an MSP, you can free up existing staff members to focus on making long-term upgrades that will keep your business serving patients and healthcare providers for years to come.
Still have questions about I.T. solutions for the healthcare field? We can help, no matter your current stage of planning. At JMARK, we understand that the right technology can expand your business’s horizons. We have been helping healthcare businesses get the most out of their I.T. for over thirty years. JMARK was recently recognized for its expertise in I.T. for the healthcare industry.
Call 844-44-JMARK, get in touch at [email protected], or visit the Contact Us page of our website to get started. JMARK has offices in Springfield, Missouri; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Fayetteville, Arkansas, and clients in 42 states.