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5 Things You Can Do to Prevent Ransomware Attacks

It seems like every week, we hear about another healthcare organization being hacked via ransomware. With these ransomware attacks so commonplace now, it appears that the most basic level of prevention is getting overlooked. The Federal Government has taken steps to ramp up cyber security, but only you can prevent ransomware attacks at your hospital.

It is possible that your hospital is already infected with a piece of ransomware and you don’t even know. Preventing an attack should be a high priority, and, if attacked, managing it quickly and efficiently is an absolute necessity to sustain patient care and protect the reputation of your organization.

prevent-ransomwareSo, what can you do to prevent ransomware attacks?

  1. Stay Updated: This seems pretty simple, but ensuring internet browsers, computer operating systems and applications are on their most current release, and all security patches have been applied takes a lot of work. The time and effort are worth it if you can prevent ransomware attacks!
  2. Strong Password Policy: Set standards for passwords that are complex. This should include length requirements, special characters, capital and lowercase letters, and numbers. Encourage your employees to use strong, hard-to-guess combinations. Do not allow them to use any personal information.
  3. Training: You need to thoroughly train your employees not open links or attachments that seem suspicious or come from unfamiliar or unexpected sources. This is the most common way that a hacker places ransomware in your network.
  4. Backup: It is extremely important to fully back up critical and important data on a set and routine basis. This would allow you to recover from an attack as quickly as possible or not be held hostage to the ransomware at all.
  5. Stay Vigilant: Educate yourself and your workforce on what the current trends are in cyber-attacks, what to look for and recognize them, and report any suspicious activity to your designated Security Official.

It is possible, even when following the five items above, that you could still suffer a ransomware attack. It is important to dedicate time and resources to your security initiatives. Consider bringing in third party organizations that come into your organization that can conduct timely and efficient audits and proactively manage your privacy protection efforts. Every possible defense should be evaluated and considered to protect your patients’ privacy.

The consultants at Optimum Healthcare IT specialize in meeting the security, compliance, and information risk management needs of healthcare organizations. Our team has a broad understanding of healthcare operations and technology risk; conducting gap analysis and developing plans to ensure our client’s operational goals and regulatory requirements are being met.

Click here to learn how UC Irvine Health saved $6 million in security remediation costs, and an estimated $5-7 million in breach avoidance, in only 90 days, by using Optimum Healthcare IT’s Security Remediation solutions.

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