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How the Indian healthcare industry safeguard against cyber threats

The technological Indian healthcare industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world, with new parts such as artificial intelligence, Machine learning, Nanotech, Ayurveda, Vaccine, and drug development being at the forefront. With this increase in technology adoption, however, the sector is increasingly vulnerable to cyber-attacks and fraud. India remains the second largest nation facing cyber-attacks. The Indian healthcare industry has been seriously affected by cyber-attacks and fraud ranging from identity theft, financial fraud, malware, and phishing to even serious threats such as hostage situations in healthcare institutions and compromise on intellectual property and confidential research results, etc. There is a need for hospitals, labs, pharmaceuticals, and virtual medical organizations to safeguard against cyber threats.

Most hospitals are unable to handle attacks, despite the increase in threats, and also do not take these threats seriously. The abuse of data is not the only threat that lurks. The prevalence of similar medical devices, such as pacemakers and insulin, may also place a patient’s life at serious risk. Not to mention, most of the attacks by internal workers who have access to the EHR of the company are the cause of negligence.

To counter these rising cyber threats and attacks, and protect their networks and data:

Integrated security

It is important for hospitals, especially now during COVID-19 that they are operating everything on virtual platforms, to integrate some or the other security systems in their medical tech devices for diagnosis, transactions, and storage of data.

Cybersecurity Awareness

One of the strongest reasons why cyber fraud and crime are so prevalent appears to be the lack of cybersecurity awareness. It can go a long way in controlling or stopping cyberattacks to create a task force within the enterprise that can help exercise due diligence, be diligent, and detect or report a cyber-threat in time.

Regular security testing and risk assessment 

Most institutions spend in the recommended cybersecurity infrastructure, including healthcare centers, but fail to ensure routine security monitoring and risk assessment. This is extremely significant, as new patent knowledge, equipment, and repairs are added on a daily basis. Furthermore, remote access and the use of mobile-friendly apps to review notifications and reports have resulted in end-point security vulnerabilities that need to be constantly monitored and patched effectively. Another essential protection technique used for successful data security maintenance is penetration or pen testing, which mimics a cyber-attack, to potentially identify vulnerabilities and proactively patch them. The need for the hour is focused on tips from the American HIPAA compliance and data protection model, a regulatory structure for organizations that outlines strict guidelines for safeguarding patient data and financial information.

Overcoming challenges    safeguard against cyber threats

Infringements are on the increase, despite regulatory requirements regarding data protection, security, and prevention of data breaches of personally identifiable information (PII) and personal health information (PHI). For a long time, the healthcare industry has underinvested in IT protection with a primary emphasis only on regulation rather than looking at cybersecurity as an enabler for the functioning of a healthcare institution. There are vulnerabilities to be exploited in the recent emphasis within the healthcare industry on the introduction of electronic health records systems (EHRs) under strict externally enforced deadlines, along with difficult-to-update medical devices that continue to operate obsolete and insecure operating systems. Then, there are well-known problems such as lack of qualified cybersecurity personnel, lack of backup capability, process failures that put cyber manipulation at constant risk to healthcare organizations.


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