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Andy Reed
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The Importance of Cybersecurity In Senior Living Organizations

Senior care organizations have unique cybersecurity needs that their outsourced IT services must meet. At a long-term care facility, every data point represents a person. When that data becomes compromised, the people you care for are at risk. Discover critical cybersecurity issues in senior care and what IT teams and organizations can do to combat them.

 

What Makes Cybersecurity for Senior Living Providers Important?

The healthcare industry faces many more data risks than other industries. In 2016, a study by the Ponemon Institute found that nearly 90 percent of the healthcare organizations they surveyed had a data breach in the past two years. According to cyber security organizations, healthcare experiences over twice as many cybersecurity threats as the average industry. During the fourth quarter of 2017, attacks rose by 82 percent from the previous quarter. CSO cites reasons such as:

  • Healthcare's comparatively low level of cybersecurity development
  • The high value and volume of healthcare data
  • How long it takes to detect medical fraud compared to other fraud types
  • Advancements in cybercrime

 

Also, the senior living industry doesn't have cybersecurity regulations specific to its requirements. This absence is not necessarily due to neglect but because long-term care security needs change on a daily basis. Technology grows at an exponential rate, making it difficult to protect data from future developments. An organization's leadership must devote extra effort to safeguarding their residents' information.

 

Special Considerations for Long-Term Care Security

The senior care industry's unique qualities add a few challenges to cybersecurity. Care facilities tend to be smaller operations than other businesses. They have lower budgets and fewer staff members. The size of these organizations makes it difficult for them to devote resources to fighting cyber threats. Also, senior retirement organizations must follow government regulations like HIPAA, HITECH and NIST. While these laws provide added security, they also put a further strain on resources.

 

  • Use secure passwords: A password that includes lower-case letters, upper-case letters, numbers and symbols provides the highest level of security. You can follow these rules while creating an easy-to-remember password at the same time. For example, instead of using "sunshine" as a password, replace the letters to create a password like "SunSh1n3!."
  • Control database permissions: Change your database's settings so that employees see only relevant data. Most programs let you assign permissions to individual staff members. When an employee leaves, immediately remove their account from the system.
  • Run antivirus and malware scans: Paid security software completes more thorough scans than the free versions. However, any antivirus is better than no antivirus.

 

Cybersecurity for Senior Citizens

If you give residents access to the Internet, you must teach them about basic cybersecurity practices. Include tips in your organization's resident newsletter, or provide in-person training. Use spam filters to prevent fraud emails from reaching their inboxes.

 

IT Networking Software in Central PA

We founded Prelude Services on the idea that every long-term care organization should have access to IT software and security. Contact us to see how we can help your community.

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