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Healthcare’s Struggle with Data Breaches

Author: David Ruel, Sr. Product Manager

Data breaches have substantial negative impacts for organizations and, in fact, the average cost per incident can exceed $3 million by some estimates.

Concern looms particularly large in the healthcare industry, where patient lives are at risk. Cybersecurity threats against healthcare organizations climbed 60% through the first nine months of the year, according to a recent article by 24/7 Wall St.

Why and How They’re Targeted

Healthcare organizations are targeted, according to the article, because they hold large amounts of PII, there are many entry points, and ransoms will be paid if lives are at risk. Phishing scams, which trick recipients into opening malicious software, tend to be the most common threats to healthcare organizations.

The 24/7 article provides disturbing details about how, even in the long term, patient lives are even affected by a breach.

Incredibly, a data breach at an inpatient hospital was associated with 23 to 36 more deaths per 10,000 heart attack patients discharged every year, according to Health Services Research. The reason is that security adds inconvenience, like with how a strict two‐factor authentication slows down workflow.

“Our results indicate that breaches and the subsequent HHS‐mandated corrective actions and hospital remediation may have adverse implications for quality of care,” the report says. “Breached hospitals should carefully consider remedial security initiatives to limit inadvertent delays and disruptions associated with new processes, procedures, and technologies.”

The problem of data breaches in healthcare could get worse. Medical providers have begun sharing data with tech providers and Silicon Valley giants under what’s known as business associates agreements, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article.

How Heureka Can Help Before a Data Breach

Heureka proactively mitigates risk and increases business resiliency by finding and eliminating data with no business, legal or regulatory value.

Heureka’s system is specifically designed to index, analyze and classify your unstructured data regardless of where it is within the organization. Having a full understanding around not only your data, but also your data content, allows you to protect the data that matters most.

Auto classification of sensitive information allows users to quickly search, locate and remediate files before a data breach occurs. Medical records, specific patient information along with ids can be automatically classified as well using Heureka’s powerful combined keyword/query/regular expression searching.

Reporting as well as true file actions such as delete and quarantine of information allows a single user to control sensitive information from a single interface across hundreds or thousands of endpoints at the same time. Heureka helps protect health care providers by providing the tools needed to find and control sensitive information.

For more information, visit HeurekaSoftware.com.