How To Protect Customers’ Health Information From Breaches

Updated on October 14, 2020

In 2020, data is more vulnerable than ever before. Even if it was a normal year, we would have more personal data online. But it is not a normal year. Because of COVID-19, we have not only spent many more hours online, but we have also started doing things online that we never otherwise would have.

In the healthcare industry, that includes appointments with doctors and other medical practitioners. In many ways, this opens up a lot of opportunities for providers and clients. However, it also opens up many more opportunities for hackers. Sessions that would have been completely confidential can now be recorded remotely, or stolen online if the provider keeps recordings.

For healthcare providers, confidentiality and trust is incredibly important. Which is why providers need to improve their security protocols in 2020. Here is what you can do.

Use a VPN

A virtual private network (VPN) is crucial for anyone’s security, but when you have access to other people’s most sensitive data, it is an absolute necessity. A VPN protects you by hiding your IP address and encrypting your data. So, potential hackers won’t know who or where you are, and wouldn’t be able to do anything with your data even if they got hold of it.

Everyone working in your offices (or from home) should be using a VPN at all times, not just when they are working. Read more on VPNPros to find out about the best VPN providers. You cannot afford to be lax in this department.

Password protocols

Unfortunately, human error – or negligence – is responsible for many breaches. One of the most basic protections against intruders is the password. It is also one of the biggest vulnerabilities. And we make the same mistakes over and over again.

The problem is that we have been trained to follow ineffectual rules for creating “strong” passwords. The idea is that P@$$w0rd is more secure than Password. It is more secure, but not by much. The software hackers use can parse these additional characters in no time.

Furthermore, a person’s knowledge of their own passwords is, in itself, a risk. They may keep it in a note on their phone or elsewhere.

These days, there is no reason to create weak passwords. The reason is that password managers and most web browsers offer a much easier solution. They will create an impenetrable password for you and, without access to your devices, no one will be able to crack it.

The strong password is long and complex, and no human will be able to remember it. With software doing it for you, it all happens automatically. There is no room for human error.

Restrict personal emails

It is not only politicians who should avoid using personal emails at all costs. Anyone who deals with sensitive information should never use their own email addresses to communicate it. Your personal email address is just far too open to hackers and even your service provider to access.

Neither you nor anyone in your office should use a personal email address when sharing confidential information. It is unethical to do so, as it is putting your clients at risk.

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.