As cybersecurity becomes a growing concern for medical professionals among several practice data breaches, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends using strong passwords and limiting network access as some of the best ways to protect secure data.
Ten top IT tips for maintaining cybersecurity:
1. Establish a security culture
It is critical to warn employees of cybersecurity risks to avoid an "it can't happen to me" mindset. Prepare employees to overcome blindspots and set up checklists to build a culture of awareness and security to keep practices and habits automatic.
2. Protect mobile devices
Mobile devices are small, making them easy to lose and vulnerable to theft, allowing easy access to hackers.
It is not recommended that medical providers carry cell phones, except when immediately necessary to the practice. They should not be carried for convenience due to their inherent risks.
If cell phones are necessary to the function of a practice, ensure that they are encrypted with up-to-date security software.
3. Maintain good computer habits
Uninstall software that isn't being used, or does not have a clear purpose. Never download unknown software. Update your computer OS frequently so it is up-to-date on new security developments.
Regularly dispose of old files and old data, and immediately delete old employees' access from the system.
4. Use a firewall
Do research online and download a firewall software, or purchase a hardware firewall that should be installed by a technology professional.
5. Install anti-virus software
Research and download an antivirus software, and make sure to keep it up to date.
6. Plan for the unexpected
Set up an automatic backup for secret and encrypted files and important records.
7. Control access to health information
Only allow username and password login access to employees who need to know. Practice role-based access control, where only employees in certain necessary departments can access sensitive medical information.
8. Use strong passwords
Use strong passwords that include several characters, both uppercase and lowercase, and several special characters and numbers.
Change your passwords on a regular basis.
9. Limit network access
Have a special wireless network for those working at the practice to protect information passed over Wi-Fi.
10. Control physical access
Secure laptops, phones and other electronic devices in locked rooms and manage physical keys to prevent devices from being stolen.