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Why Healthcare Organizations Need Cybersecurity Awareness Training

October 26, 2021 - Cybersecurity & Compliance

Why Healthcare Organizations Need Cybersecurity Awareness Training
Anthony Williams

Posted by Anthony Williams

Imagine your digital infrastructure is a castle.

All of your critical workflows and sensitive data live behind castle walls, you're surrounded by a deep moat and a draw-bridge to separate you from potential threats. But all of your security, preparation, and investment mean nothing if someone lowers the draw-bridge. Cybersecurity awareness training seeks to educate those living behind castle walls to ensure they never lower the drawbridge for malicious actors.

Human error is the cause of the majority of business cyber attacks and it’s not because employees are trying to be malicious, it’s often the result of preventable mistakes. If hospitals and healthcare facilities want to protect their data, reputation, and profits, they need to take the time to bolster their employees' cybersecurity awareness.

Healthcare organizations of all sizes can leverage our strategic partnership with KnowBe4, the world’s largest integrated security awareness training and simulated phishing platform, to create a tailored cybersecurity awareness training program that includes healthcare-specific phishing training and HIPAA compliance modules.

When implemented correctly, cybersecurity awareness training becomes an asset to any healthcare organization where employees act as a human firewall of protection, stopping any and all risks before they develop.

The Rising Need for Cybersecurity Awareness in Healthcare Organizations

Cybersecurity awareness training is often overlooked and incorrectly placed at the bottom of the priority list. Healthcare organizations tend to underinvest in cybersecurity which has led to a lack of security expertise in the healthcare industry. According to KnowBe4’s 2021 State of Privacy and Security Awareness Report, 24% of healthcare employees have had no security awareness training.

Data breaches and successful cyber attacks have become all too common across the healthcare industry despite all of the regulatory requirements around data privacy, security, and preventing data breaches of personally identifiable health information. In July 2021, one phishing attack on an Orlando-based family physicians’ practice affected 447,426 patients. In September 2021, a California academic healthcare organization experienced a data breach that exposed the information of nearly half a million patients, students & employees. As a result of this breach, the suit is seeking reparations for all the individuals whose medical data and personal information were exposed.

To sum up the state of cybersecurity in the healthcare industry, here are a few healthcare cybersecurity statistics.

  • The most popular target among hackers is the healthcare industry at 15%.
  • Lost or stolen Protected Health Information (PHI) may cost the US healthcare industry up to $7 billion annually.
  • An average of 58.8 data breaches occurred among U.S. healthcare providers between August 2020 and July 2021 with roughly 3.70 million records breached per month.
  • More than 22 million people have been affected by healthcare data breaches in 2021 so far — an increase of about 185% from the same period last year.
  • Compared to other industries, healthcare employees were the least aware of social engineering threats such as phishing and business email compromise (BEC), with only 16% of healthcare employees saying they understood those threats very well.
  • Only 22 percent of healthcare employees are confident they could describe the negative impacts posed by cybersecurity risks to senior management.

Features of a Robust Cybersecurity Awareness Training Program for Healthcare Organizations

From HIPAA compliance training modules to simulated phishing attacks, here are some of the features healthcare organizations can expect to see included in a robust cybersecurity awareness training program.

Comprehensive Training Modules

A robust cybersecurity awareness training platform should include a library of on-demand, engaging, and interactive browser-based training that covers general cybersecurity awareness, compliance training as well as healthcare-specific phishing training modules. KnowBe4 has the world's largest library of over 1300 security awareness training content items; including interactive modules, videos, games, posters, and newsletters.

Simulated Phishing Attacks

Education alone isn’t enough—employees need to come face-to-face with security threats to increase the chances that they can recognize them. Simulated phishing attacks allow healthcare organizations to send fake phishing emails to their employees and monitor their responses to identify gaps in knowledge, security, and learn which of their employees might be more vulnerable to a phishing attack.

Robust Reporting Capabilities

When healthcare organizations make the investment into cybersecurity awareness training for employees, they want to know for a fact that it’s working. A comprehensive cybersecurity training program will include advanced reporting tools that provide actionable metrics and insight into the program’s overall effectiveness. With the right reporting tools, healthcare organizations can understand where improvements need to be made to strengthen their human firewall.

Protect Your Healthcare Organization with Cybersecurity Awareness Training

Hospitals and healthcare organizations need to invest in continuous and holistic cybersecurity awareness training for their employees to ensure the continued protection of their data, reputation, and profits. By investing in cybersecurity awareness training programs now, healthcare organizations can potentially avoid the financial penalties associated with a health information breach as well as the possible loss of customers.

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Anthony Williams

about the author

Anthony Williams

Anthony Williams is a personable information technology professional with 19 years of experience. History spans from break/fix PC technician to helpdesk, electronic document management, network engineer, Technical Account Manager to Account Executive. I put passion & integrity behind my work. Always looking for an opportunity to be a technical advocate for those I integrate with. Works with clients to develop a predictable long-term & short-term plan for all things IT. Anthony Williams is an IT Solutions Account Executive for SymQuest.

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