Your healthcare data is personal and private. Unfortunately, it is also valuable to scammers, identity thieves, and other cybercriminals. Because of the valuable nature of this information, the healthcare industry suffers continuously from data breaches. HIPAA and other laws have made progress in addressing this issue, as well as an increasing awareness and prioritizing of security and privacy in the medical community. The severity of the problem still impacts individuals daily, and it is not going to go away overnight. We have already discussed some best practices for healthcare providers, but cybersecurity is for everyone! Let’s look at a few ways individuals can bolster their own privacy protection.
1. Know your rights
First of all, research the healthcare laws and other privacy laws that apply to you. It is important to know your rights in regard to your protected health information (PHI), including what information is protected, how it is protected, and what entities are held to these standards. Your healthcare provider should be actively safeguarding your data and complying with privacy laws through policy and practice. When you are familiar with data privacy laws, you will be able to better advocate for yourself and others and recognize violations when they occur.
Knowing your rights is closely connected with knowing your responsibilities. There are some types of data and some entities that are not covered by privacy laws, so consider things like how you communicate about your health data, and with whom you discuss it. While healthcare providers should manage data securely and responsibly, the ways you safeguard your own PHI will also impact your privacy.
2. Research Health Tech Products
Whenever you are buying new health tech devices or downloading apps or software for health management, read reviews and do some research to ensure they are safe. Check that the permissions requested by apps and software do not go beyond their intended purpose. Only download from trusted sources. Verification through an app store does not automatically mean an app is trustworthy, so it is always best to independently research the integrity of downloaded media and developers.
Devices may not come with adequate security built in, so be aware of your options for protecting them. In addition to antivirus protection, firewall, and a VPN, consider using a device security app that will allow you to track, lock, or wipe your device if it goes missing. DriveStrike is a security solution that enables you to protect your data and manage your devices remotely.
3. Stay Protected
Once you are certain the devices, apps, software, and sites you use are safe, there are several other ways you can protect your health data. Use strong wireless network security (WPA3 if possible), create unique passwords for your medical accounts, use multifactor authentication where available, and keep your communication about your healthcare data secure. In general, do not access your online health records through public Wi-Fi, and do not call your healthcare provider from a public place where your discussion could be overheard.
Sometimes scammers will use phishing and other social engineering tactics to get you to disclose personal information. Some warning signs of a phishing email include bad grammar or spelling, a sense of urgency and pressure to act immediately, suspicious links, and requests for personal information that could be used to access your medical or financial accounts.
4. Help Raise Awareness
Accountability and reform are dependent on widespread awareness. Whether the current cybersecurity issues in healthcare are problems with compliance, implementation, or a lack of resources, change can only happen when people are aware of the problem and willing to do something about it. Don’t wait until the next big data breach to take action with regard to your personal privacy, and spread the word to help protect those around you. You are not alone in your endeavors to protect your personal data, so don’t hesitate to involve others and seek guidance. Cybersecurity Awareness Month is ending next week, but cybersecurity awareness doesn’t have to!
Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart
DriveStrike provides enterprise-level security at a low price. Protect devices and data with Remote Wipe, Lock, and Locate, as well as BitLocker encryption for Windows and advanced management options for Android. Sign up for a free trial to start protecting your devices and data today, and feel free to reach out if you have any questions! Your security is our priority.
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Each day brings new medical data security challenges, so your organization needs simple and wide-reaching solutions to combat those challenges. DriveStrike is here to help you protect your most critical data with premium quality endpoint security. Start a free trial with DriveStrike today, and contact us if you need any assistance. Our team is always ready to answer your questions.