For cybersecurity, the healthcare industry has unique challenges over others. The consequences of cyberattacks are frightening for any healthcare organization, particularly nursing facilities and long-term care centers that use endpoint electronic devices.
When the dark web strikes, facilities that rely on the cloud to sustain machines can suffer dire consequences. Human life can be at stake when hackers enter a network through MRI or EKG machines, making them nonfunctional for the patient. Ransomware incidents can hold an entire network hostage when a hacker demands a sum of money. Data breaches of patient information can lead to identity theft, financial hardship, and leaking of sensitive medical records. Viruses infecting computers can render them unusable.
Cyberattacks are detrimental to any healthcare organization, its employees, and its patients. The COVID-19 pandemic caused the healthcare industry to offer options of remote work and bring-your-own-device (BYOD). As a result, virtual teams with remote access make sensitive information more accessible through multiple databases, locations, and machines. Besides computers and phones, other vulnerable endpoint devices include printers, servers, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, handheld scanners, and robots, to name a few. Each needs specific security measures to protect its data and ensure its continued functionality in crucial situations.
Remote work has only increased the risk of hacking and shown the importance of having reliable IT practices. Traditional anti-virus software, secure Wi-Fi connections, and firewalls are strong safeguards against basic cyberattacks. However, these measures are limited in preventing more sophisticated threats. The most effective form of protection against cybercrime in healthcare is endpoint security.
Three types of endpoint security prove most successful in preventing cyberattacks. Each goes beyond the capabilities of generic anti-virus software to immediately stop the incident and prevent it from recurring.
Endpoint Protection Platform (EPP) functions much like traditional anti-virus software by scanning files before they can enter a network, but with more in-depth findings. If a malicious file manages to get past EDR, Endpoint Detection and Remediation (EDR) then handles applications and files that have already entered the network and monitors them for any irregular activity. Extended detection and response (XDR) combines the work of both EPP and EDR by using automation, machine learning, and threat intelligence.
Other types of endpoint security have also proven to work, such as Network Access Control (NAC), Data Loss Prevention (DLP), Insider Threat Protection, and more. Each method makes it easier for companies to identify security breaches in real-time with more accuracy, freeing up employees for other tasks.
The number of endpoints in a network tends to increase over time, necessitating healthcare organizations to act swiftly to identify and prevent potential risks to their cyber safety. While endpoint security is not a cure-all, it is the best solution for cyberattacks in healthcare, particularly in the age of BYOD. Integrating general network security and endpoint security measures gives organizations better knowledge of the threats they face. Understanding the dangers is useful both for immediate defense and for future prevention. Investing in the right tools is the best way to guarantee healthcare’s cybersecurity in any situation that it must adapt to in the future.