As cyber security becomes a growing concern for medical professionals among various data breach practices, 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.
IT’s top ten tips for maintaining cybersecurity:
1. Establish a safety culture
Warning employees about cybersecurity risks is critical to avoid a “it can’t happen to me” mentality. Prepare employees to overcome blind spots and establish checklists to create a culture of awareness and safety to maintain practices and automatic habits.
2. Protect mobile devices
Mobile devices are small, making them easy to lose and vulnerable to theft, allowing hackers easy access.
Medical providers are discouraged from carrying cell phones except when immediately necessary for practice. They should not be transported for convenience due to their inherent risks.
If cell phones are necessary for a practice’s function, make sure they are encrypted with up-to-date security software.
3. Maintain good computer habits
Uninstall software that is not in use or has no clear purpose. Never download unknown software. Update your computer’s operating system frequently to keep up with new security developments.
Periodically dispose of old files and data, and immediately remove old employee access from the system.
4. Use a firewall
Research online and download firewall software, or purchase a hardware firewall that must be installed by a technology professional.
5. Install antivirus software
Research and download antivirus software and make sure you keep it up to date.
6. Plan for the unexpected
Set up 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 multiple characters, both uppercase and lowercase, and multiple special characters and numbers.
Change your passwords periodically.
9. Limit network access
Have a special wireless network for those who work in practice to protect information that is transmitted over Wi-Fi.
10. Control physical access
Secure laptops, phones and other electronic devices in locked rooms and manage physical keys to prevent device theft.