Cybersecurity has many layers to it, and it's important for healthcare professionals to have the most robust cybersecurity strategy possible. There are often some points that covered entities seem to miss, so let's review some ways that your cybersecurity strategy may be lacking.
Patient communication needs to be done in a HIPAA compliant manner and ensure the protection of PHI. Some healthcare professionals have decided to implement patient portals as a secure way to communicate with patients. But portals aren't always fully protected, and it may make it more difficult for patients to see emails from you since they have to log in to a portal to view your messages. Standalone portals aren't the best solution for safeguarding PHI while communicating with patients. HIPAA compliant email is a better solution since all outgoing emails from an employee's inbox can be encrypted and keep sensitive information safe from cybercriminals.
Read more: Why email is better than patient portals
Lack of cybersecurity training
Employees tend to be the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain. Humans are prone to error, and covered entities need to train their employees to recognize and respond appropriately to cyber threats. Robust cybersecurity measures are vital, but healthcare providers need to take a layered approach to protect their network. This includes training your employees about cybersecurity and HIPAA compliance. This adds an extra layer of protection against threats like phishing attacks or display name spoofing emails.
Not enforcing 2FA
Two-factor authentication (2FA) or multi-factor authentication (MFA) can help validate the identity of a person and confirm they have authorized access data.
Read more: What's the difference between 2FA and MFA?
People are used to needing a username and a password to access an account. A robust password policy can make it harder for a cybercriminal to hack, but it's still possible for passwords to leak or get revealed via a successful phishing email. 2FA makes it possible to require a person to confirm their identity twice. First, they have to enter the correct login credentials. Then they have to provide another authentication method, such as a one-time code sent to their phone. Having two authentication methods makes it much more difficult for a cybercriminal to gain unauthorized access to an account.
Not having an attack strategy
A covered entity's goal is to minimize the risk of becoming a victim of cybercriminals. But it should also be prepared with a plan on what to do if it is attacked. A business continuity plan (BCP) is a process for covered entities to discover, avoid, and mitigate system risks. It also includes a disaster recovery plan in the event that systems and networks are down. The BCP can be broken down into 3 steps:
- Conduct a business impact analysis (BIA)
- Create a plan on how to operate at a minimal level if a disaster occurred
- Plan a disaster recovery process to restore systems
Having a strategy for an attack will make it easier to restore systems and recover as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Read more: What is a HIPAA risk assessment?
Not understanding HIPAA and how it relates to cybersecurity
The HIPAA Security Rule lays down the foundation for a strong cybersecurity network for healthcare providers. It discusses the reasonable and appropriate measures to put in place for administrative, physical, and technical safeguards to secure patient information. It's important for healthcare providers to understand HIPAA because they need to protect PHI or face HIPAA violations and fines. Read more: Understanding and implementing HIPAA rules HIPAA can be hard to understand and implement, but it's no excuse to keep using your fax machine. While faxing can be HIPAA compliant, it's an outdated communication method. There are much more secure ways of communicating with patients.
Read more: Kill the fax
How Paubox can strengthen your cybersecurity
Paubox Email Suite is an excellent solution to ensure all employees send HIPAA compliant email by default. We use TLS 1.3 encryption, the latest and most secure version of TLS encryption. Our inbound security tools that come with our Plus or Premium plans protect your inbox from spam, viruses, and other malicious attempts to infiltrate your network.
The Paubox Email Suite Premium plan also has email data loss prevention (DLP). This feature stops employees from sending sensitive information either maliciously or unintentionally to people outside of your network. We're dedicated to ensuring the highest level of cybersecurity for healthcare providers, which is why all our products are HITRUST CSF certified. You can rest assured that Paubox will keep your email security up to date and HIPAA compliant.