Many smaller healthcare practices erroneously assume that they won’t be the target of ransomware attacks, but the increased risk to practices of this size require a more proactive approach to cyber security.
The global risk of ransomware continues to grow, as do the potentially crippling effects for business of all types that experience such an attack. Healthcare organizations face a particular set of risks from the potential loss of protected and confidential data. All companies should take steps to protect themselves against this cybercrime threat, but smaller healthcare practices, in particular, have reason to be more vigilant in the face of this growing risk.
Why cybercriminals target smaller healthcare practices
Many smaller practices fall into the trap of assuming that they face fewer cybersecurity threats than large healthcare organizations such as hospital groups. In fact, cybercriminals are increasingly likely to target these smaller healthcare practices, despite the lower amount of protected health information (PHI) such practices have compared to their larger counterparts. Why? The reason is simple; smaller practices tend to be less experienced with cybersecurity procedures, are less likely to have an internal IT department and are usually more dependent on quick access to their data than larger organizations. All of these factors make smaller practices easier targets for ransomware attacks.
How you can protect your practice from an attack
The most important thing that you can do to protect your healthcare practice from a crippling ransomware attack is to be proactive. Train all of your employees on how to spot the potential ways that cyber criminals can initiate a ransomware attack. This includes educating your staff on the risks of downloading email attachments and clicking on suspicious links in emails. Once your employees are well aware of the potential risk factors that can lead to a ransomware attack, your practice will have created an effective first line of defense against this threat.
Backing up all of your critical data including PHI is also important. If you do fall victim to a ransomware attack, having a secure backup to rely upon will allow your practice to keep working while finding help to deal with the removal of the ransomware.
What to do if you do face a ransomware attack
Luckily, if your practice has taken steps to prepare beforehand, a ransomware attack will be less disruptive. Even those firms with robust cybersecurity protocols can fall victim to an attack, however. If you do face a ransomware demand, many experts including the FBI recommend that you do not pay the ransom. Disconnecting infected machines from your business’ server can help stem the spread of the ransomware infection. At the end of the day, however, those without experience with cyber security threats can only serve to make the damage worse by trying to take corrective steps themselves. If your healthcare practice does not have an internal IT department, utilizing the services of a managed IT provider may be your best course for getting your practice back on its feet.
Are you concerned that your healthcare practice might be vulnerable to a ransomware attack? Our cyber security experts can help you assess your risks and institute better defenses. Contact us today at (603) 668-7733 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.