The healthcare sector is among the fields in which cybersecurity solutions have the utmost importance. If the sector in question has issues to ensure data security for the sensitive data stacks, this may result in the leaking of essential public information. This, in turn, may cause the institutions operating in the healthcare sector to lose trust and reputation. It is imperative to stress that various institutions and organizations in the healthcare sector require extremely comprehensive data and access security precautions for this reason.
It is possible to explain why institutions in the healthcare sector are targeted by cyber attackers under three categories. However, before we explain these in detail under three categories, the large data fields of health institutions and the personal data in these fields can be seen as the enveloping reason. Regardless of the type of cyberattack, the motivating reason to attack the said institutions is critical data access and it is possible to summarize the extent of more specific goals as follows:
The attackers who set out with these basic motivations may affect thousands of institutions and millions of people in various regions of the world. So what does the recent incidents and statistics tell us? Is the healthcare sector really an open target in terms of cyber threats?
Reviewing a few recent incidents may be beneficial in order to better understand the relationship between cyberattacks and the healthcare sector. Scripps Health, a firm in charge of five hospitals and 19 outpatient treatment centers in the state of California, USA stated that they are expecting to lose $106.8 million USD due to a cyberattack targeting their systems in May 2021. In another incident in the US, a 34-year-old pharmacist named Tangtang Zhao allegedly sold 134 genuine vaccination cards to 11 buyers for a total sum of $1.276 USD in Chicago. Zhao is currently accused of stealing 12 different state properties and is charged with 10 years for each incident for a total of 120 years.
On the other hand, according to the information in Verizon DBIR 2021 report, the reasons behind data breaches in the healthcare sector have shifted from internal threats to external threats since 2019. Furthermore, the IBM Cost of Data Breach report also indicates that data breaches cause the greatest costs in the healthcare sector. The field in question has seen a 10.5% increase in costs compared to the 2019 data of the report, and continued to be the line of business with the highest financial loss for the 10th year in a row, with an average of $7.13 million USD.
The data in the Verizon DBIR 2020 report reveals that the most significant increase in data breaches in 2020 was in the healthcare sector compared to 2019. Knowing the frequently encountered cybersecurity challenges of the sector, which has seen a very serious increase of 71%, may provide a more beneficial approach regarding the precautions to be taken:
On the other hand, some precautions that can be taken to cope with these challenges can be listed as follows:
Establishing security policies operating with "The Principle of Least Privilege", based on a "Zero Trust" approach on privileged accounts to implement recommended solutions in order to ensure data security in the healthcare sector, will also ensure that the internal and external threats to your institution are neutralized. Privileged Access Management (PAM) solutions, which undertake a critical role in establishing and implementing these approaches, also strengthen your institution in terms of data security. Privileged Access Management, or PAM, can completely eliminate the concerns of an institution in the healthcare sector regarding data and access security, thanks to the modules it incorporates.
First and foremost, you should remember that the number of users in the network of a healthcare institution is high and these users operate in a distributed architecture. Therefore, in the first phase, you should prevent the network from becoming too complex and in the second phase, you should keep the number of required privileged users at a controllable level.
To ensure this, you can make use of some solutions in accordance with the security protocols of your institution and prevent the malicious user or cyber attackers from seizing control of critical data. For instance, with Privileged Session Manager solutions, you can control all session and user accounts in the network and record all logins. This way, you can prevent potential confusion and monitor the sessions of users via logs. Through Dynamic Password Controller applications, you can preserve the passwords of the privileged sessions in the network in isolation from the network using the password vault feature and ensure uninterrupted operational efficiency while providing access security via strong and complex passwords.
Furthermore, thanks to Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) solution, you can authenticate users through the geo-location feature and also secure access and authentication with time limits. With Privileged Task Automation, you can reduce downtimes and increase efficiency by automating routine tasks. Database Access Manager and Data Masking solutions will also be beneficial in ensuring more efficient privileged account access security and data security. With these solutions, you can control the access of database managers, log every operation of the said user group on the network, and offer extra protection for your data with data masking.
With Single Connect, which was featured in the 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for PAM report as one of the best PAM solutions in the world, you can benefit from all the solutions above and eliminate cybersecurity vulnerabilities in the healthcare sector.