Aspen Dental is the latest healthcare industry company to fall victim to hackers. The Aspen Group reported a cybersecurity incident this month, temporarily impacting scheduling systems and other business applications. IT teams worked quickly to bring the systems back online, protect data, and restore doctor and patient access.
The attack on Aspen Dental highlights a growing trend of attacks on healthcare organizations.
Let’s take a close look at the attack and how your healthcare organization can protect itself from a similar breach.
A Rise in Healthcare Cybersecurity Incidents
Healthcare providers like the Aspen Group provide a golden ticket for hackers. Why? Tons of personal information are stored. Patients’ names, addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, and credit card information, if hackers can breach a large healthcare organization, are the jackpot on personally identifiable information if hackers can breach a large healthcare organization. With this information, cybercriminals are able to steal identities and money.
But how bad is the problem really? Short answer: it isn’t good. Healthcaredive.com released a report in April that reported 385 million patient records were exposed from breaches between 2010 and 2022.
Aspen Dental was nothing special, but because of particular software and the data they store, they, like many healthcare organizations, have a target on their back for hungry and desperate hackers.
6 Tips for Cybersecurity in Healthcare
We know the trend is real, so how can your organization protect itself? These six tips are a great place to start. We also recommend working with a qualified, managed IT service provider to create a proactive cybersecurity plan for your clinic or organization.
- Train Employees on Data Security. Most breaches happen due to employee error. Training employees to spot the signs of a breach attempt will help eliminate some, but not all, threats.
- Conduct Risk Assessments Routinely. Whether this is done internally or by a third party, risk assessments help your organization evaluate weak points and vulnerabilities and address them before they become an entry point for cybercriminals.
- Always Use Multi-factor Authentication (MFA). In order to keep your network safe, require that all employees use multi-factor authentication all the time, with no exceptions.
- Enable Data Encryption. Every healthcare organization manages sensitive patient data. Using a form of data encryption is critical to protecting the privacy of patients.
- Engage in Regular Auditing & Monitoring. Whether you have an internal team complete this or hire an outside IT company, regular auditing and monitoring will help catch vulnerabilities and attack attempts before they happen.
- Manage Third-party Access. Healthcare organizations often have many third parties accessing data, patient records, etc. Remember that your organization is vulnerable to any weak cybersecurity practices of your third-party vendors. If third-party vendors are not adequately managing and protecting data, that vulnerability also falls back on your organization. They can be your weakest link. Require that their cybersecurity practices are at a level at least equal to those of your organization.
IT Support for Healthcare
With extensive experience working with healthcare clinics in the Greater Phoenix Area, PK Tech is experienced at managing HIPAA regulations and ensuring your organization stands the best chance of preventing a cybersecurity attack.
If you are a dental clinic, periodontist, chiropractor, or other healthcare provider in Phoenix, we would love to support you. To get started, schedule a free 15-minute discovery call with a member of the PK Tech team here.