Believe it or not, the concept of artificial intelligence (AI) dates back to the 1950s, when researchers first began thinking about ways in which machines could simulate human intelligence. With that being said, AI is not a new system. It has been around for decades and has become popular with organizations of all kinds. It is touted to be the technology capable of staying on top of a company and industry-specific trends, all while achieving higher-levels of productivity among employees.
With so many potential risks to cybersecurity, it is no surprise that data protection is a top priority for many small businesses in the U.S. When a business evaluates its cybersecurity position, it is encouraged to look at it from three key positions:
- Technology-based solutions on-premises
- Internal cloud technology
As technology becomes more sophisticated, so are the threats to our data and privacy. A recent survey of 150 Inc. 5000 companies revealed that 53 percent of respondents said they feel more confident about the security of their company's data now compared to five years ago. Though the renewed confidence amongst organizations is a welcomed surprise, cyber threats continue to be an ever-evolving hazard. Not only are cyber criminals becoming more nimble in their efforts, but cybercrime can also often happen much closer to home base.
In the United States, healthcare organizations are required to abide by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996. This act provides guidelines pertaining to the handling of patient information across a number of platforms. When healthcare organizations are looking for cloud solutions to manage their data, ensuring that they are HIPAA compliant is a necessity.
The Office for Civil Rights in the United States periodically conducts HIPAA compliance audits on healthcare organizations. Most recently, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) performed audits of 166 covered entities and 41 business associates to check on compliance with selected provisions of the HIPAA Rules. Whether done through ignorance or negligence, HIPAA violations often come with large fines that can range from hundreds of thousands of dollars, to millions, depending on the severity.
In the health sector, priority is always given to saving lives while the security of personal health records (PHR) is sometimes overlooked. This is because, in comparison to emergencies, the storage of information seems very insignificant. As a result, an increasing number of healthcare providers are facing the consequences.
A new report by Black Book Market Research forecasts that data breaches against the healthcare industry are likely to triple in 2021. The survey also found that 75% of the organizations responding felt they were not prepared to act when a cyberattack hits and almost all (96%) felt that cyber criminals were ahead and outpacing their organizations.
HIPAA has become more important now than ever before as more people are relying on telemedicine and other forms of online care. In March 2020, the U.S. Office for Civil Rights (OCR) division of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it would not apply penalties for "non-compliance with the HIPAA Rules related to the good faith provision of telehealth during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency." This mandate will continue into 2021 as more people utilize Telehealth services across the nation.
2020 saw remote work become a necessity, regardless of the size of the business or the number of employees. To put this into perspective, Upwork claims that 41.8% of working Americans were working remotely at the end of 2020. An estimated 26.7% will still be working from home through 2021, while 36.2 million Americans (22% of the workforce) will be working remotely by 2025. This adds up to an 87% increase from the number of remote workers before the COVID-19 pandemic.
How have cybercriminals responded to the work-from-home trend? It is safe to say, they are quite happy with the new arrangement. Adding to COVID-19-related fears among the population, cybercriminals are using work from home environments as a new gateway to conduct acts of data theft.
Running a hospital presents a variety of unique challenges. It is like many other businesses as it requires effective leadership and communication to run smoothly, but the extra factor is the importance of timeliness. All businesses require quick employee response, but this could not be truer for a healthcare facility. Patients and their health can be unpredictable. There should be a method of reaching healthcare professionals promptly while still protecting the sensitive information being transmitted.
As more employees begin to work from home, and cybercriminals become increasingly more sophisticated in their abilities, unsuspecting tech users have become more vulnerable. With this in mind, there is no better time for employers and IT leaders to develop a cybersecurity response plan and back it with a budget that fits the size and needs of the organization.
When it comes to cybersecurity, an organization can never sit still, as trends and risks are constantly evolving. In most cases, the cost of developing a solid plan and budget for cybersecurity can seem like a small price to pay in comparison to the damage a cyberattack can cause to an organization's reputation and bottom line. What questions should you be asking of your plan and what important areas should you consider for your budget?
The number of breaches of unsecured protected health information (PHI) on record in the United States is staggering and continually increasing. Significantly, these records only cover breaches affecting 500 or more individuals. One can only wonder how many more breaches have occurred on a smaller scale. The types of breaches range from theft and hacking, to improper disposal and unauthorized access as a result of negligence. According to the HIPAA Journal, between 2009 and 2019 there were 3,054 healthcare data breaches involving more than 500 records. Those breaches have resulted in the loss, theft, exposure, or impermissible disclosure of 230,954,151 healthcare records. That equates to more than 69.78% of the population of the United States.
Such incidents can be avoided if covered entities (companies involved in healthcare) ensure that all of their business associates are secured. There are many reasons why it is important to have secure business associates. Being aware of these reasons may prompt covered entities to take the necessary measures to protect their clientele's information: