In recent years, data protection has become essential for all organizations, regardless of their size. Whether it’s occurring on the newest start-ups on the block or at a large healthcare corporation, data breaches and web theft can cause massive disruptions to organizations’ day-to-day operations. Large hospitals, in many cases, are way ahead of the game. Without having proper security procedures and policies in place, they can leave themselves open to potential risks and consequences of cyberattacks.
No matter how damaging a threat to a business’s data security, it can be easily avoidable with appropriate safeguards. If you want to ensure business continuity and ensure health information and patients’ security, you have to invest in the proper methods. This article will see how large hospitals secure their data and ensure corporate data security.
Data Security Methods For Large Hospitals
Many large hospitals are already using rigorous security methods. Since they learn and grow from the mistakes of other organizations, large entities tend to have proactive security policies and robust threat monitoring techniques in place. Here are five methods that large hospitals and healthcare companies look to redesign their data security methods.
Understand data lifecycle
Large hospitals with proactive security policies know their data, how it is used and where it is stored. Mapping data flow lets organizations better evaluate their weak points. Moreover, large organizations use discovery tools to ensure that data is accessible by authorized devices and users only. These capabilities enable large hospitals to be GDPR compliant and fulfill other transparency/privacy standards.
Use of encryption across the boards
Large hospitals not only handle a bulk of data but a variety of data. The heterogeneous pool of data makes them vulnerable to cyber-attacks. They use encryption methods for systems, data in the cloud, data at rest, and data in transit to protect their data. Hard drives, USB devices, and phones should use encryption if holding sensitive data.
Here are a few recommendations for data encryption.
- Look at data in all cases, both in transit and at rest. Encryption is used to protect data in all scenarios.
- Back up all the files and create an image backup before encryption. Create a boot disk or removable media and ensure that you have installed media for the operating system.
- Decentralize encryption and decryption. You need an encryption key manager to maintain the security of keys to keep things organized while using a decentralized method. You will want to encrypt databases, applications, and files. Using distributed encryption, your organization can yield many benefits, including more robust performance, better availability, low network bandwidth, and high-quality data transmission.
- Use the hub-spoke model to encrypt data. While combining the distributed execution with the central key management, the encryption and decryption mode will be anywhere within your network. The key management can integrate with encryption software and deploy on more than a single node. You can encrypt and decrypt at the node level with all the spokes in place. By structuring this way, data does not need to travel much. You can also maintain higher uptime that can arise from a hub failure. The key manager should be created, store, and monitor the expiration date of the keys used by the spokes. Keys need to be changed within the nodes when they expire.
Protecting data in the cloud
Cloud computing has become an integral aspect of digitalization, but it also increases security vulnerabilities with it. Security concerns have spurred intense disputes in information security circles and CIOs as data migrates to the cloud. Large hospitals do not have control over cloud security, but Cloud Service Providers do. IT departments are concerned; therefore, they use cloud security technologies to encrypt data before uploading it to the cloud, rank data by risk level, protect and monitor end-points, and give enterprises more control over cloud data security.
Here is a list of the best cloud security tools:
- CloudStrike Falcon_ It’s a next-gen cloud-based endpoint protection solution that takes care of any connected device, ranging from light with a tiny digital footprint to powerful enough to handle attacks like shell injections and zero-day exploits.
- Cloudflare Web Application Firewall_ It’s a powerful online protection service that can keep millions of web applications safe and connected effectively. It also protects the network by acting as a reverse proxy, preventing DDoS attacks.
- Barracuda CloudGen Firewall_ It’s a next-gen SaaS security system to protect complex distributed network architectures. This tool identifies and protects against phishing emails and also offers backup.
- TOPIA_ It’s a cloud security tool that gathers data on assets and analyzes it to detect threats and rank them based on their severity. It applies in-memory protection and Patchless Protection to defend a network.
- Zerospam_ This cloud security tool protects corporate email servers by fighting against cyber threats like spear-phishing and ransomware. It’s an easy-to-use, highly effective tool with performance enhancement capabilities.
Technologies for data security
While technologies to protect data are constantly improving, they still fall short in several critical areas. Companies’ deal with security data has changed rapidly since introducing HIPAA compliance in 1996. We have come a long way, but we also have a very long way to go.
Large hospitals use a variety of methods and techniques to minimize security threats. While several tools focus on external threats, log-in records and authentication tools help monitor internal threats. Below are standard technologies and policies large hospitals use for data security.
- Data masking- Data masking is a method to develop a fake yet realistic version of your company data. Data masking aims to protect sensitive data and provide a functional alternative when accurate data is not needed, such as sales demos, user training, or software testing. Data masking processes alter the data values while using the same format. The aim is to create a version that can not be reverse-engineered or deciphered. There are various ways to alter data, including encryption, word or character substitution, and character shuffling.
- Data backups- To ensure accessibility, it is recommended to keep data backed up. Backing up data includes files and databases in addition to configurations, systems, and applications. Implementing storage backups minimizes the effect of ransomware or other malicious attacks.
- Data erasure- Erase the data that is not necessary. Delete data if a customer cancels an account. Moreover, erase information if a customer does not want to be on an email list.
- Tokenization is a way to protect data at rest while preserving data length and type. Tokenization replaces sensitive data with non-sensitive, randomly generated substitute characters as placeholder data. These characters, known as tokens, have no intrinsic value. They allow authorized users to get sensitive data when needed. It isn’t easy to maintain performance and scale securely as databases increase in size. Moreover, it’s difficult to exchange data as it requires direct access to a token vault mapping the token values. Tokenization is mainly used for structured data fields, such as social security numbers or payment cards.
- Authentication- can vary from two to multi-factor authentication (2FA-MFA) and sometimes involves physical keys. The purpose of multi-factor authentication (MFA) is to construct a layered defense that makes it more difficult for an unauthorized person to get access to a target, such as a physical location, computing device, network, or database. Even if one element is hacked or broken, the attacker still has one or more barriers to overcome before gaining access to the target.
As hospitals and healthcare organizations plan for the future, they identify security as a prime directive. But there is a lot that can be done to consolidate and move towards distributed architectures without sacrificing data integrity and compliance. Privacy by Design/Default is one concept that would certainly help. For example, when you look at data reported as lost, compromised, or stolen, most of these incidents are related to human error.
And while technology can reduce some of the human mistakes that lead to breaches, ultimately, it will be up to the organization to enforce strict policies regarding security and the management of sensitive data. If an organization treats its data as if it were its own, then there is no reason that it would get into the wrong hands or leak out in any harmful way.
In summary, the future of health data security depends on a combination of creative solutions and technology to maintain privacy while still giving individuals access to their information.
Any strategy must also be adaptable and responsive to changes as they occur. Protected Harbor focuses on additional hardware, servers, modified servers, changes in connection and operations, and can all be part of the plan. And to add, we have our expert team of engineers who are proactive and committed to satisfying the clients.
Deployed monitoring is layered in as part of the plan. We add our Application Outage Avoidance (AOA) technology as monitoring is introduced. The integration of network device data and planned operations are referred to as AOA. For example, if a server’s disk capacity runs short, a sequence is run to enlarge the disk, avoiding a service downtime.
If you want to protect your hospital’s data and remain in compliance with the HIPAA Privacy Rule, there is plenty you can do to keep that data safe. Whether you choose to partner with a HIPAA compliant hosting company such as Protected Harbor or go the do-it-yourself route, plenty of strategies are available to secure your organization’s information.