2024 Healthcare Cybersecurity: The Ultimate Fundamentals Mastery

December 30, 2023
2 mins read

Key Points:

  • Healthcare organizations need to enhance their cybersecurity measures in 2024
  • Four core focus areas for cybersecurity in healthcare are third-party risk management, cybersecurity education, responsive threat landscape, and identity and asset management

In 2024, healthcare organizations face the critical need to enhance their cybersecurity measures. With cyberattacks costing an average of $1.3 million per incident, healthcare organizations must move beyond chasing the latest trends and focus on fortifying their basic security posture. This year’s cybersecurity incident in one of the largest healthcare organizations highlights the shift of cybersecurity from an optional practice to a critical necessity.

There are four core focus areas for cybersecurity in healthcare in 2024:

1. Third-Party Risk Management

Healthcare organizations increasingly rely on third-party vendors, which introduces significant security risks. It is essential for these organizations to proactively evaluate and manage the security risks associated with their vendors. Prioritizing vendors based on the sensitivity of the data handled and the criticality of their services is crucial. Healthcare organizations should conduct regular audits, require third-party vendors to demonstrate compliance through certifications, and perform vulnerability assessments. Clear contractual agreements with detailed cybersecurity requirements should also be established. Healthcare organizations must engage in ongoing monitoring of third-party vendors using automated tools that track changes in vendor security posture. Additionally, staff should be educated about the risks associated with third-party interactions to promote a culture of security awareness.

2. Cybersecurity Education

Healthcare organizations should prioritize cybersecurity education for their employees, especially regarding ransomware and Business Email Compromise (BEC)/spoofing attacks. Regular training sessions should be conducted to teach employees how to identify suspicious links and attachments, the importance of routine software updates, and the use of reliable antivirus software. Simulating ransomware attacks in training sessions can help test employee readiness and reinforce best practices. For BEC/spoofing, organizations need to implement a comprehensive education program that highlights attackers’ techniques and teaches employees to scrutinize email headers, verify unexpected transfers or sensitive information requests, and double-check email addresses for discrepancies. Multi-factor authentication and verification processes should be enforced to prevent BEC/spoofing attacks.

3. Responsive Cyber Threat Landscape

The complexity of the cyber threat landscape requires quick and effective responses to security alerts. Healthcare organizations must develop rapid response mechanisms using managed services and incorporate AI and machine learning algorithms with traditional cybersecurity frameworks. Augmented cybersecurity intelligence, utilizing AI to automate remediation tasks, can free up cybersecurity teams to focus on strategy and operations.

4. Identity And Asset Management

The challenges of identity access management (IAM) and asset management are critical in the healthcare sector. Healthcare providers need to balance the need for swift access to patient information with the imperative to safeguard this data from unauthorized access. Healthcare organizations should focus on securing stored credentials, session cookies, access keys, and addressing misconfigurations. Additionally, rigorous monitoring and management of digital and physical assets are necessary to protect against cyber threats.

In conclusion, while the industry talks about zero trust as a goal, focusing on the fundamentals in these four key areas is more practical for healthcare organizations. Balancing security with usability is challenging, but establishing robust security measures without hindering user experience is crucial for healthcare cybersecurity in 2024.

Latest from Blog

44k Americans first to suffer data breach: Are you next?

TLDR: First American Financial Corporation disclosed a data breach affecting 44,000 individuals in December 2023. The company offered free credit monitoring and identity protection services to the affected individuals. The First American