Healthcare News & Insights

4 data breach trends to watch for in 2015

In 2014, providers saw more frequent data breaches, an increase in the rate of cyberattacks and more cybersecurity scrutiny. So what’s in store for 2015? 

161906068It might be just as bad or worse.

That’s one of the conclusions  from global information services company Experian’s 2015 Second Annual Data Breach Industry Forecast. The report gives predictions for multiple industries about how data breach trends will develop in 2015.

Cybersecurity has been on hospital leaders minds for most of 2014, especially after new viruses and hackers breached several hospitals’ systems and exposed patients’ protected health information (PHI). But Experian predicts the healthcare industry will have rough year in 2015, as well.

Continued risk to healthcare

The report claims that there will be a “persistent and growing threat of healthcare breaches” in 2015.

Why?

Largely because more hospitals are expanding their use of healthcare IT and electronic health records (EHRs), which means there are more access points for hackers to potentially breach.

Even care management tools like wearable devices can present some level of threat, the report warns.

Additionally, the report notes that many providers lack the resources to protect their systems and the massive amounts of patient data they store.

Other trends to watch for

Some of the other predicted trends may equally affect health care, but also reveal areas where your facility can tighten its security and breach-readiness. They include:

  • An increase in cyberattacks on cloud data storage. As more hospitals implement cloud storage into their operations, they’ll have to ensure that passwords are secure. One way to protect yourself in the event a hacker gains access to an employee’s password is to consider how to reset a users’ password and send prompt notifications to anyone potentially affected.
  • Employees as a risk to data security. Human error and disgruntled former employees have been two big causes of breaches in the past year. Experian predicts that people-based breaches will be a major issue in 2015. Your staff should be trained on topics, such as how to identify spear phishing email scams. Your facility should also implement policies and procedures that limit when and how employees access PHI, especially for tasks like after-hours work.
  • A rise in third-party breaches. As more facilities try to bring in business associates to help manage their operations or leverage their data, they also increase their risk of exposure. As interoperability among healthcare partners continues to develop, it’s important that hospitals emphasize risk management and security with their vendors.

Of course, as with anything claiming to predict the future, this report should be taken with a grain of salt.

However, it is worth bumping up your security efforts since 2014 has shown that the healthcare industry is lagging behind other industries in terms of cybersecurity and breach preparedness.

 

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