Senior living communities must prioritize the protection of sensitive information, as they are responsible for safeguarding critical data such as patients’ personal, financial, and medical records. Healthcare organizations are attractive targets for cybercriminals due to the high value of the data they hold.
The financial impact of a data breach on healthcare facilities can be substantial. In March 2022, the average cost for data breaches in the healthcare industry reached approximately $10 million. Learning how to assess your cybersecurity risk will help you safeguard your senior living community and its residents more effectively.
Recognize Prevalent Security Threats
To accurately assess your senior living community’s cybersecurity risk, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the most common threats faced by organizations online. These include:
- Phishing: These scams involve deceptive emails or text messages designed to trick recipients into disclosing sensitive information.
- Malware and ransomware: Malicious software that can disrupt operations, steal data, or hold it hostage for ransom.
- HIPAA breaches: Non-compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) can result in severe penalties and compromise the privacy of patient information.
Understanding these risks will help you identify potential weaknesses in your current cybersecurity measures.
Review System Access
Managing system access is crucial for ensuring the security of your patients’ information. Conducting regular audits of your online systems can help identify unauthorized access by former employees or unknown devices.
Identify Legacy Systems
Legacy systems, or outdated hardware and software that are no longer supported by their vendors, can pose significant security risks. These systems are more susceptible to vulnerabilities and crashes due to their lack of updates and support. Assess your dependence on legacy systems to determine your cybersecurity risk.
Assess Data Recovery Plans
Data loss and disasters can occur for various reasons, such as hardware failures, natural disasters, or cyberattacks. Evaluating your data recovery plan can help minimize the impact of these events.
To assess your data recovery plan, consider:
- Local threats: Identify potential risks specific to your region, such as natural disasters or extreme temperatures.
- Geographic diversity: Diversify your server locations to reduce the impact of localized threats.
- Backup plans: Implement data replication and backups to ensure continuity of operations during system crashes or ransomware attacks.
After evaluating your organization’s cybersecurity risk, you can take action to address weak areas and implement more robust security measures. These may include:
- Training employees: Educate staff on how to avoid common cybersecurity threats and stay informed about emerging trends.
- Educating residents: Help residents understand the risks associated with technology and the importance of cybersecurity.
- Using multi-factor authentication: Strengthen login security by requiring additional verification steps.
- Documenting security and compliance policies: Provide written guidelines and procedures for employees to follow.
- Partnering with a cybersecurity management expert: Collaborate with a specialized cybersecurity partner to handle all aspects of risk management, allowing you to focus on providing the best care for your residents.
Enhance Your Senior Community's Cybersecurity with ProviNET Solutions
To effectively strengthen your cybersecurity, you need the support of experienced professionals. ProviNET Solutions specializes in providing IT services to healthcare providers, including senior living communities. Our comprehensive range of services includes software and hardware management, as well as IT outsourcing for senior living communities. With our 24/7 service desk, you can get the assistance you need at any time.
Contact us today to learn more about our services!
Director of Marketing
Scott Sweeney is a data-driven leader with over 14 years of experience in marketing and communications. Scott has been with ProviNET Solutions for 9 years and directs the marketing efforts of the company.