By Tom Murphy
When it comes to preventing a data breach or cyber security issue at a medical practice, employers and employees should attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible to avoid making errors. This ultimately means that the practice needs a proven cyber security training program in place to make sure all employees are up to date on all security policies at all times.
Cyber security training for employees of a medical practice is an ongoing process, and early detection of a data breach or other cyber event is critical when it comes to preventing a practice from losing thousands of dollars in damages, as well as damage to the practice reputation and credibility. Practices should consider doing more to ensure that all employees are consistently updated and informed about potential security vulnerabilities and how to recognize and avoid them.
The following are some cyber security tips for medical practices:
1. Require Strong Passwords. Secure passwords are typically the first step in safeguarding sensitive data and patient information. Every employee needs to know how to create strong passwords. This includes using a mix of characters, numbers, and letters, and never sharing passwords among employees.
2. Consistently Evaluate Vulnerabilities. Practice leaders need to understand the vulnerabilities and consistently evaluate the systems and employees on a regular basis to recognize potential weaknesses.
3. Implement Cybersecurity Tests. These tests, sometimes called “live fire” training, provide the practice or employer the ability to determine just how educated and prepared their employees are when it comes to avoiding one of the many cyber security issues. The most popular form of this test is when the employer or contractor simulates phishing scams to see how many employees open attachments.
4. Keep the Lines of Communication Open. Cybersecurity policies need to be communicated throughout the practice and training should be held on a regular basis to keep all employees informed and up to date on all the practice requirements, and to ensure understanding of the practice response plan in the event of a breach or cyber event.
5. Make Sure Practice Leaders Are Involved. All practice leaders and management need to understand the importance of having a strong cyber security training program, as they are the ones responsible for the budget and for making sure that everyone knows the implications a cyber event can have on a practice.
All medical practices should have a robust cyber liability policy that will protect them from the potentially large costs associated with a cyber event.