Wood Ranch Medical recently made headlines for all the wrong reasons, when it made the tough decision to close its doors due to the after effects of a ransomware attack. Unfortunately, this isn't an isolated incident and too often healthcare providers are not prepared to deal with an attack once it occurs. This is even more of an issue when it comes to small to mid-sized providers who do not have the resources to hire staff to focus on cybersecurity.
The costs of ransomware
According to a report from Health IT Security, the breach occurred in August, when Wood Ranch Medical's servers containing their electronic health records were infected with ransomware. All patient data and backup hard drives were encrypted, locking them out and the damage was severe enough that data recovery was not an option. Earlier this year Brookside ENT and Hearing Center also had to close its doors due to a ransomware attack. The small practice was hit with a ransom of $6,500, but the costs to recover go far beyond that as reported by Bankinfo Security. The damage to reputation, further cyber forensics into the attack, implementing new safeguards, and other liabilities can make the costs of ransomware go far beyond any payment to the cyber criminal.
What to do to stop from becoming the next headline
The best way is to of course prevent any breach from occurring in the first place. This can be done through a combination of training for staff on how to spot a suspicious email or download, and implementing an email security software, like Paubox Email Suite Plus, that can prevent malicious emails from reaching users in the first place.
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But the reason these practices had to shut down was because they weren't prepared to recover if a breach did occur. Having a strong data backup and recovery strategy will go a long way to make sure that the effects of a ransomware attack isn't one that will be the end of operations.