Let’s be honest, most organizations understand the consequences of a cyber breach but just as many fail to implement the necessary precautions to secure critical data. It’s true, many organizations both in the US and China are too slow to put these measures in place.
In fact, recent studies have shown that the number of data breaches across every sector has increased by more than 40% in recent years.
What’s more, hospitals account for an overwhelming 32% of these hacks. Only last year, the Hong Kong Department of Health fell victim to one of the most devastating security breaches in Asia, EVER.
What has become clear over the last 12 months is that no one industry is more exposed to data breaches than the health and pharma industries.
And especially with China’s strategic (and timely!) focus on “Made in China 2025”, which expressly mentions the pharmaceutical industry as a major point of interest, the time has come for both the US and China to look into – and hopefully adopt – a common security framework that will keep critical data secure and, hopefully, decrease animosity between the two countries in the long run.
Let’s take a closer look at why data security should be a primary focus for both US and China’s healthcare providers and the emergency of HITRUST – an international security framework that should become more and more prevalent across the world in the years to come.
Why the Healthcare Industry is Attractive to Hackers?
As you know, hospitals and organizations in the healthcare industry are responsible for keeping a huge amount of personal information. However, while phone numbers, addresses, insurance details, and credit cards may seem like the obvious target, these hackers have much more nefarious intentions for the data they are attempting to steal.
For example, cyber attackers can harvest credentials or even a patient’s blood type to access their prescriptions. As if that’s not enough, they can use this information to blackmail an individual or even demand a ransom from the medical institution.
In fact, just a short while ago, hackers managed to extract more than $17,000 from a hospital in California after taking control of their internal computer system. And in July of 2018, 1.5 million records were hacked in Singapore, with the offenders stealing the names and addresses of all patients who visited local clinics.
Anyway, the point is, that cyberattacks are real and the threat is more common than ever.
But how real is this threat and how do they happen?
The Truth About Healthcare Data and Hackers
The truth is that security breaches are not always the result of cyber attacks. Many cyber breaches are the result of accidental exposure through email, forms or elsewhere online.
On the other hand, employee error, in general, is a common risk and the frequency of such incidents continues to rise. In fact, a recent study in Australia showed that human error accounted for more than 45% of breaches last year with the majority of these incidents taking place in the healthcare industry.
Either way, the threat is real and ignorance is little more than weakness in the face of a cyber attack. In other words, business executives should be prioritizing the protection of critical data and remove this threat immediately rather than waiting for the inevitable to happen.
Why Healthcare Executives are Turning to the Common Security Framework
In light of these threats, business executives are now turning to an organization called “HITRUST”. The Health Information Trust Alliance is responsible for creating the Common Security Framework (CSF).
Further, HITRUST is a non-profit initiative that carefully follows each and every security requirement within the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act regulations.
As a rule, the HITRUST framework is tasked with protecting and securing critical data for organizations in the healthcare industry. At the same time, this high-tech system enables the same practices or processes to stay in place while transitioning to a new set of protocols.
At the same time, the HITRUST Certification is not just for healthcare organizations but also for their business associates, software companies, equipment providers, or vendors. That is to say, healthcare organizations can protect their data further by insisting these vendors take the very same precautions.
The Benefits of HITRUST Certification
However, in order to know the true importance of the Common Security Framework, we must also better understand the benefits of the HITRUST Certification. With this in mind, here are some of the stand-out reasons why business executives should implement the system:
Improved security systems will reduce the risk of a cyber breach. HITRUST certification complies with all the necessary regulations and provides superior protection for patient and company data.
More and more healthcare payers are requesting business associates to acquire a HITRUST certification. Needless to say, as the threat increases, you can expect that this certification will become a standard requirement for organizations in the healthcare industry.
Audits are complicated at the very least and HITRUST can reduce the amount of time it takes to identify the extent of risk during these audits. For example, the Common Security Framework enables an organization to monitor compliance issues and manage important issues before they turn into a risk.
As you might expect, HITRUST certification can increase brand authority. At a time when so many customers are less trusting of organizations, this certificate can foster a better relationship between the customer and your organization.
Organizations are positioned to take risks and a HITRUST certification enables business executives to make decisions without having to worry about security concerns.
By the way, you can check this ultimate guide from Digital Authority about how to get a HITRUST certification.
How Healthcare Executives Can Stay Ahead of the Curve
In a perfect world, we might reverse the impact of a cyber breach or tackle the root cause of most cyber attacks – hackers.
However, these are unrealistic solutions and the truth is, that security systems are the only way to stop cyber attacks and protect critical data within the healthcare industry.
With this in mind, it makes sense that healthcare executives are starting to turn their attention to security issues. More specifically, these executives are using HITRUST certification to protect the organization from cyber-attacks and breaches.
What’s more, many organizations are now insisting that vendors and business associates deploy the same precautions to further protect and secure this critical data.
It’s true, that many organizations are still exposed to data breaches but the Common Security Framework is starting to tackle this ongoing problem. With this in mind, business executives know where to start and how to begin implementing a system that will strengthen and secure the organization.
In many ways, deploying a security system is similar to a soldier donning armor in preparation for battle.
Security systems enable these executives to feel confident and ensure that the organization is nicely positioned to stay ahead of the curve. And confidence leads to better decision-making and a more desirable outcome on the battlefield.