Cyber Security Attacks and HIPAA Breaches

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Healthcare companies must take steps to prevent data breaches that are on the increase in healthcare, as they are much simpler to perpetrate than data breaches in other sectors, such as retail and banking, and appear to be lucrative to the victim. Nonetheless, there is a data breach, data loss is a real threat faced by all healthcare organizations — particularly where personal health information of patients is the data at risk. 

In addition, the seriousness of this risk in terms of potential financial consequences for patients and the healthcare system (through sanctions, fines, and loss of consumer confidence) makes it imperative on financial leaders to play an active role in efforts to safeguard this information. Looking at it differently, the organization's inability to manage the threat and prevent such infringements could have severe financial implications.

Infringements of application protection have risen in frequency and are becoming news on the front page. The effects of these assaults are more serious than ever before. Customers are the targets of these attacks and seek corporate accountability, as well as federal regulations. For example, in the United States, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires companies to report when there is a security breach that is connected to confidential, personally identifiable data or personal health information. In addition to compliance with federal regulations, companies need to comply with rapidly growing state and local regulations in many countries (IBM Corporation Computer Group, 2013).

Historically, perimeter defences have been used by companies to keep their networks and information secure. Unfortunately, it is not possible to defend network firewalls and vulnerability scanners against application-level attacks. Web applications allow unknown users to communicate with information and systems by design. By network security mechanisms such as firewalls and intrusion detection systems, this activity leaves business exposed to malicious attacks. Web applications for hackers have become increasingly high-value targets. 

Because so many websites have vulnerabilities, hackers can take advantage of a relatively simple exploit to gain access to a wealth of sensitive information, such as credit card data, social security numbers, and health records. Therefore, examining the security of the web application of the organization, assessing the vulnerabilities, and taking action to protect the business is more important than ever. Experts suggest several ways to protect information from organizations including:

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Understanding Emerging Regulations and Requirements — As the number of security breaches in web applications has increased, regulatory and industry requirements have become higher. Payment Card Industry (PCI) specifications include Data Security Specifications (DSS) – a structure that covers security management criteria, policies, protocols, network architecture, software design, and other protections. It includes recommendations for the safety of web applications. These steps require that businesses protect their web-facing applications from attacks by checking security applications, reviewing vulnerability source software code, or adding an application-layer firewall in front of applications; 

Establishing Company Proper Security Practices – To minimize the growing threat of infringements of web applications, it is important to address three key areas of possible organizational vulnerability: staff, processes and technology (Internet Security Risk Report, 2016).While there may not be an exact solution to circumvent all data breaches, companies should take some action to help lessen their information's exposure. Next, organizations need to develop and implement an information security strategy that takes hardware, software, user identification codes and access controls into consideration. 

Therefore, IT departments or IT suppliers should have in place a detailed organizational framework that defines roles and rights of access. Experts advise the deployment of technology that can search the network for unauthorized software. According to Larry Collins, vice president of E-Solutions for Zurich Services Corp., it is necessary to implement such behavioural analysis systems that monitor when workers access improper files due to their job duties. He also recommends authentication of all laptops, servers, cell phones, etc. to the highest standard.

In addition to the difficulty, the threat of data breaches has risen with mobile technology. Organizations should be careful not to steal data from these phones. Many experts suggest that when using a third party for services such as accounting or data storage with cloud providers, businesses should go beyond assessing their own data security. We should study agreements to see how companies secure data from customers, their plans when there is a breach, or how we are carrying cyber insurance. Most property and incidental policies do not cover infringements of data. 

As a consequence, businesses may consider investing in a separate cyber risk plan – either in the form of liability coverage or specialized liability insurance, such as error and omissions or security and privacy policies. When third parties make claims against the company, protection of liability helps pay for costs of prosecution in legal proceedings, costs of breach of privacy, business disruption, loss of digital assets, and cyber extortion. Errors and Omissions, as well as security and privacy procedures, are helping to protect risk management and employment practices. Data breaches are becoming highly troublesome for organizations, so experts advise management to be vigilant whether the company wants to invest in cyber protection, conducts technical data security checks, establishes data security policies or does nothing. 

Most businesses ignore the fact that to protect their data assets, security monitoring or surveillance is necessary. Security Data Management Systems (SIM) can be useful in the collection and comparison of security information if properly configured (system logs, firewall logs, anti-virus logs, user profiles, physical access logs, etc.) to help identify internal threats and external threats.

Cybercrime threats are very real and too alarming to be ignored. Each franchisor and licensor, and indeed each business owner, should face and do something about their vulnerability. At the very least, every organization should perform a thorough review of its cyber security and cyber risk; participate in a prophylactic strategy to mitigate liability; protect against damages to the maximum extent possible; and enforce and encourage a well-established cyber policy, including crisis management in the event of a worst-case scenario.

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