Managing Cyber Risks in the Healthcare Industry

Kavitha Srinivasulu | August 4, 2021

In today’s threat landscape, understanding the risks organizations and customers are exposed to is imperative, especially in Healthcare. With the increasing market share of IoT devices in the healthcare field, it has offered an easily accessible door for cybercriminals who misuse and profit from device vulnerabilities. Ransomware tops the list of cyber threats for healthcare organizations. There is a heightened need of managing cyber risks in the Healthcare Industry.

The healthcare sector has become the primary vector for cybercriminals to exploit customer data and patient records as people take a more proactive role in their wellbeing. The pandemic has pushed many organizations especially those in the healthcare industry to accelerate their digital transformation. The adoption of connected medical devices has seen a major uptick. Hence, it is important to consider the risks involved in the connectivity and its underlying infrastructure.

Losing access to medical records and lifesaving medical devices, such as when a ransomware virus holds them hostage, will deter a care provider’s ability to effectively care for their patients. At GAVS, a unique mix of clinical and technical expertise gave us a great opportunity to provide a holistic view of expanding cybersecurity in the healthcare space and serve healthcare clients across the globe.

As the healthcare sector continues to offer life-critical services while working to improve treatment and patient care with new technologies, criminals and cyber threat actors look to exploit the vulnerabilities that are coupled with these changes. Data protection involves protecting both the confidentiality and the integrity of sensitive data. GAVS has built robust digital cyberspace considering the ‘journey’ of simplifying, securing, and succeeding customer data by creating a resilient environment. Cybersecurity issues range from malware that compromises the integrity of systems and privacy of patients to distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that disrupt facilities’ ability to provide patient care. While other critical infrastructure sectors experience these attacks as well, the nature of the healthcare industry’s mission poses unique challenges. For healthcare, cyber-attacks can have ramifications beyond financial loss and breach of privacy. The damage and disruption it causes, are beyond the continuation of business and reputation in the market.

Many healthcare consulting solutions providers erroneously believe that by complying with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 – commonly known as HIPAA – they are protecting their patients from these breaches of privacy. It usually is not that simple. Laws and policies cannot keep up with the evolution of technology and cybersecurity needs. Healthcare organizations need to look at the reality of their cybersecurity preparedness if they are going to find solutions for mitigating data breaches.

Many healthcare providers are unprepared when a data breach happens, which is where global companies like GAVS play a key role in providing cybersecurity solutions and proper planning. We at GAVS provide a variety of digital security services to keep clients’ systems and data secure. Solutions that bolster the client’s infrastructure, help patch holes, and provide constant monitoring to detect and address suspicious activity.

We at GAVS understand clients’ systems infrastructure and its weaknesses and ensure it is HIPAA compliant. We understand the unique risks associated with medical data and the importance of keeping patients’ information safe and confidential. GAVS takes vital steps for responding to a cyber-attack based on extensive planning.

Best practices recommended by GAVS Security experts:

  1. Implement an Awareness and Training program – End users are top targets, so everyone in your organization needs to be aware of the threat of ransomware and how it is delivered.
  2. Scan and filter all incoming and outgoing emails – Use content scanning and email filtering to detect threats before they reach end-users.
  3. Enable strong Spam Filters – This is to prevent phishing emails from reaching end users.
  4. Configure Firewalls – This allows authorized users to access data while blocking access to known malicious IP addresses
  5. Logically separate Networks – This helps prevent the spread of malware. If every user and server is on the same network, the most recent variants can spread.
  6. Use the principle of least privilege to manage accounts – Users should not be assigned administrative access unless absolutely needed.
  7. Use Application control on critical systems – Default-deny policy for non-approved programs and scripts to stop ransomware before it can access your critical assets.
  8. Patch Operating systems, Software, and firmware on devices – Consider using a centralized patch management system.
  9. Back up data regularly – Verify the integrity of those backups and test the restoration process to ensure it is working.
  10. Secure your offline backups – Ensure backups are not connected permanently to the computers and networks they are backing up.
  11. Conduct an Annual Penetration test and Vulnerability Assessment.

Today’s choices for mobility, cloud, infrastructure, communications, applications, and operations are mission-critical for small, mid-sized and large enterprises. GAVS is leading the transformation into Technology Solutions as a Service with our tech-enabled managed services portfolio and a commitment to technology innovation, operational excellence, and client intimacy. Recognized by industry leaders and industry-leading publications, GAVS has two decades of operating history delivering exceptional client experiences that directly result in competitive advantage, cost-savings, growth, and improved operational efficiencies.

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About the Author –


Kavitha has 18+ years of experience focused on CyberSecurity, Data Privacy, Business Resilience, Security Assurance and Vendor/3rd party Risk Management across Healthcare, Financial Services, Telecom, IT Services and Product Corporates. She is a natural leader with versatility to negotiate and influence at all levels. Kavitha is self-driven and is willing to learn from everything life has to offer. Back to blogs