Cybersecurity in healthcare: How MSPs help safeguard patient data

Cybersecurity in healthcare: How MSPs help safeguard patient data

Many healthcare organizations can no longer function without relying on electronic health records (EHRs) and other technological advancements in healthcare. And how could they not? EHR and other healthcare tech tools make things faster and more efficient for healthcare providers. There is, however, a downside to this overreliance, namely, an increased risk of cyberattacks. Patient data, containing sensitive information ranging from medical histories to insurance details, has become a lucrative target for cybercriminals.

The importance of cybersecurity in healthcare

A successful cyberattack on a healthcare organization has catastrophic consequences, including financial losses, operational disruptions, and compromised patient data. For instance, hackers may easily alter EHRs, leading to incorrect diagnoses or inappropriate treatments. Such attacks would jeopardize individual patient outcomes and erode trust in the whole healthcare system.

Healthcare providers should be aware that beyond the immediate financial consequences of healthcare data breaches, noncompliance poses an equally significant risk. Noncompliance with regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) can result in huge fines, exacerbating the already substantial costs of recovering from cyberattacks. The aftermath of a breach often entails rebuilding systems, restoring lost data, and navigating the complex web of legal and regulatory requirements, all of which strain resources and hinder the organization's ability to deliver quality care.

Furthermore, businesses cannot ignore the impact of reputational damage. Patient trust is a cornerstone of healthcare, and once compromised, it can take years to rebuild. A tarnished reputation affects patient acquisition and retention as well as undermines the organization's credibility within the broader healthcare community.

Having strong security measures to protect patient data is crucial to avoiding the consequences of a data breach.

The significance of patient data

Patient data holds critical information necessary to deliver personalized care. Every piece of data, from medical records and treatment plans to billing and insurance details, contributes to a comprehensive understanding of the patient's health history. Access to accurate and up-to-date information is essential for healthcare providers to make informed decisions, coordinate care effectively, and facilitate meaningful patient interactions.

In addition, patient data plays a pivotal role in driving medical research and innovation. De-identified patient data sets enable researchers to identify trends, develop new treatments, and enhance existing protocols. By leveraging patient data, healthcare professionals can contribute to advancements in disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment modalities, ultimately improving patient outcomes on a global scale.

Cyberthreats healthcare organizations face

While there are numerous threats to protect against, healthcare organizations tend to deal with threats targeted toward them. This is why it pays to know the following prevalent cyberthreats targeting healthcare organizations today:

  • Ransomware – In a ransomware attack, hackers encrypt an organization's data, making it inaccessible, and then demand a ransom to decrypt it. Ransomware attacks have gained notoriety for their disruptive potential, as seen in the 2016 attack on Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center. Such attacks not only paralyze essential healthcare services but also pose a direct threat to patient safety.
  • Phishing attacks – Deceptive emails or messages trick employees into revealing sensitive information or clicking on malicious links that can download malware. 
  • Malware – Malicious software can steal patient data, disrupt operations, or hold data hostage.

Mitigating cyber risks by partnering with managed services providers

Managed services providers (MSPs) offer a holistic approach to cybersecurity. They have specialized expertise and can recommend cutting-edge technologies to protect their healthcare clients from cyberthreats. 

Here are the ways MSPs can help healthcare organizations boost their cybersecurity:

  • By conducting comprehensive security assessments, MSPs identify vulnerabilities within existing IT systems and implement proactive measures to mitigate risks.
  • Endpoint protection solutions safeguard individual devices from malware and other malicious entities, while continuous monitoring enables early detection and swift response to potential threats. 
  • MSPs have experts who can manage data backups and implement robust disaster recovery plans that ensure business continuity in the face of cyber incidents.
  • MSPs provide invaluable support in compliance management, helping healthcare organizations navigate the complex landscape of regulatory requirements and industry standards. By aligning security practices with frameworks such as HIPAA, MSPs ensure that patient data remains secure and confidential.

Partner with an MSP 

Cybersecurity is an indispensable aspect of modern healthcare delivery. Healthcare organizations can bolster their cybersecurity posture, mitigate risks, and uphold their commitment to providing safe, high-quality care by partnering with qualified MSPs like Online Computers. We provide proactive and timely IT support and have the HIPAA Seal of Compliance to prove it! 

Interested? Healthcare organizations in or around the Hanover, Morristown, or Madison areas needing our expertise and experience can contact or visit us at our Florham Park office in New Jersey.


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