Rise in Ransomware Attacks Threatens Healthcare Providers

A recent rise in ransomware attacks shines a spotlight on the importance of cyber security for healthcare providers and their practices.

Microwize Technology, a privately held healthcare IT consulting firm in Paramus, NJ, cautions healthcare providers of all sizes not to take security lightly, especially now. The steady increase of news articles describing cyberattacks and ransom payments should concern any business. From SolarWinds to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation to Great Britain’s National Health Service to local and state government agencies to the Colonial Pipeline to Kaseya, entities are learning that they’re not immune to attack. And more than one-third of healthcare organizations were hit by ransomware attacks in 2020.

The healthcare industry needs to take particular care to safeguard its data, and protect both the privacy and the health of patients. Fines for HIPAA violations and paid ransoms, not to mention lawsuits, can add up painfully quickly. Strong cybersecurity isn’t free but the peace of mind gained is invaluable. Using complex passwords, relying on antivirus/antimalware applications, and configuring hardware firewalls are all major components of a solid security plan.

A ransomware attack can cost an organization its reputation in addition to the immediate financial hit, and laying off employees or even shutting doors forever could result. A recent survey reported that 80% of businesses that decided to pay to get their data back were subsequently attacked again, demonstrating that paying the ransom is not a good idea. But to avoid being backed into that corner, you must be prepared for the worst.

Microwize president/CEO Robert Gabriel notes that patching all the security holes in a typical network is beyond the scope and training of most medical professionals. Whether/when to upgrade to Windows 11, what backup solution offers the best balance between security and a rapid disaster recovery, pros and cons of SSDs vs. hard disks: these shouldn’t distract a doctor or office manager from running the practice and caring for patients.

Managed IT services can mitigate the stress and the risk. Just as you outsource your car maintenance and repairs to a trusted mechanic, letting a managed services provider (MSP) handle your network’s “tuneups” and “oil changes” allows you to focus on your strengths without having to worry about staying on top of technology and the latest threats. With over 20 years in healthcare IT, Microwize Technology demonstrates every day the value of partnering with a knowledgeable and proactive MSP. To learn more, visit https://healthcareitcompany.com.