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Here Is Why Your Medical Firm Needs Reliable Data Backup

The healthcare industry operates at a high pace around the clock. From emergency rooms to long term care, healthcare professionals need to be able to move as quickly as possible in administering care – they cannot afford delays.

That is why data continuity is such a priority for healthcare organizations. When IT systems go down – whether as a result of cybercriminal efforts or a natural disaster – it means healthcare professionals cannot access patient data, which makes it difficult, or impossible, to do their jobs. Did you know that a reliable off-site backup is also a requirement of your Security Risk Analysis for HIPAA?

Case in point – earlier this year, the Olean Medical Group staff went without access to their systems and data for over 40,000 patients until they paid the hackers that infected them with ransomware. During the extended downtime, they had to resort to tracking patient data on outdated hard copy charts.

The question is – have you taken the necessary steps to protect your practice against data loss? Do you know what you should be doing to develop reliable business continuity?

Are You Actually At Risk Of A Ransomware Attack?

If you have been living under a rock for the past few years, you might not have noticed the major increase in cybercrime targeting the healthcare industry.

Ransomware is a growing problem for healthcare organizations of all sizes – in fact, almost half of all ransomware incidents reported last year targeted healthcare companies. This is largely due to the increasing usage of advanced medical devices, software and mobile technology that are all interconnected.

In combination with outdated legacy medical systems, limited budgets for investing in cybersecurity, and a lack of IT expertise, data loss – particularly via ransomware attacks – is more common than ever.

  • Alabama’s DCH Health System recently chose to pay the ransom and regain access to their systems after being hit by ransomware. The attack had resulted in three hospitals being shut down, leaving them unable to treat patients, and having to reroute ambulances.
  • A Wyoming hospital’s operations were stopped dead because of a ransomware attack. With its data taken hostage, the hospital has had to cancel surgeries, transfer patients to other facilities, and stop admitting new patients for multiple days.

How Can You Protect Your Data?

The best way to keep your data safe is to simply have it backed up, to a separate location, on a regular basis. By storing a complete and up to date copy of your data that is separate from your local systems, it does not matter if your onsite data gets encrypted by ransomware. You can simply wipe it all and recover your data from the backup.

Enlist Expert Support From ICS

If you are unsure about implementing a reliable and comprehensive data backup, then you need to find an IT partner that can help you out.

Ideally, you will find an IT company that understands the field of work your organization operates in. General IT companies that offer the same standard tech tools are a dime a dozen – make sure to find one that knows what your pain points are, how to support your line of business applications, and understands where your industry is headed.

Furthermore, given that they will be helping you to implement new IT solutions and practices, you will want to work with an IT company that understands compliance. As a healthcare organization, you are subject to HIPAA compliance. Make sure that the company responsible for managing your IT has knowledge of and experience with HIPAA compliance.

Data continuity is all about prevention – no matter what you do, you cannot start focusing on data backup after your systems have gone down. At that point, it is too late. Take the necessary steps now to protect your data down the road.

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