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Understanding the Dangers Hackers Pose to Hospitals With Improperly Secured Cloud Apps

The healthcare sector is entering a new era with the rise of genomics, big data harnessing, personalized medicine, and more. So, healthcare providers are embracing cloud services to:

  •         Reduce IT costs,
  •         Increase productivity,
  •         Improve service quality.

Why do Hospitals Use Cloud Apps?

Cloud computing gives hospitals the chance to take advantage of high quality computing resources while managing to decrease their expenditure.

In addition, cloud environments will lower the borders for both innovation and improvement of HIT applications and systems.

Here are some of the biggest benefits hospitals see in the usage of cloud services:

  •         Unlimited availability of necessary computing capacities;
  •         Capacity of storing huge amounts of data;
  •         Real time distribution of Electronic Health Records between hospitals;
  •         Real time crucial information access;
  •         Data analysis and tracking features.

How Vulnerable Healthcare Data Is?

Healthcare data has strict requirements for:

  •         Data confidentiality,
  •         Data stability,
  •         Data archiving.
  •         Traceability of access,
  •         User authorization,
  •         Software security.

Hospitals work with confidential data on daily basis, so it’s crucial for them to use a trustworthy system able to provide sufficient functionality and ease of use for their personnel

From global aspect, problems connected with data privacy or jurisdiction affect the way hospitals perceive cloud solutions. The reality is that all cloud ecosystems and infrastructures will have disruptions at some point in time.

The healthcare industry’s dependence on the availability and reliability of information can be a matter of life and death. That’s why it’s important for hospitals to not only store their data using a secure cloud solution, but be able to access any info they need at a given notice and avoid any possible tech problems or mistakes.

A cloud service may be secure, but employees can still use it in a risky manner. Records containing Social Security numbers and addresses are worth approximately 20 times than a credit card number on the black market since cyber criminals can open multiple fraudulent accounts.

Records about terminally ill patients have even greater value on the black market because it’s less likely the patient or family will detect the fraud.

There were more data breaches and software vulnerabilities discovered in 2014 than any year on record. With healthcare organizations uploading significant amounts of data to the cloud, the theft of a username and password can have a far-reaching impact.

In 2013, OHSU officials notified more than 3,000 patients that their health information was compromised after residents in three departments used Google cloud services to share patient data.

The problem was hidden deep in their Division of Plastic and Reconstructive surgery where hospital employees used cloud services to create, store and access documents filled with personal patient data like ID numbers, date of birth, appointment dates, diagnoses and in some instances even social security numbers.

The original idea here was to ease up the process of data storage and access for the employees of the hospital while improving the quality of the service they provide to their patients, but the choice of the cloud service provider was little off target.

What Cloud Services Do Healthcare Institutions Use?

The cloud has allowed developers to reimagine enterprise software with innovative new features. With faster release periods and updates that occur immediately across all customer cloud applications are not only cost effective. They are often first to come up with innovative features.

Currently the most used cloud services in healthcare based on user count include:

  •         Cisco WebEx,
  •         ADP,
  •         Microsoft Office 365,
  •         Concur,
  •         Zendesk.

Cloud computing has become more important than ever, especially in the healthcare industry, because the challenges in managing technology based on the principles of previous eras have become greater, and the benefits of cloud computing in resolving these challenges have matured to become more appropriate and critical to healthcare enterprises of all types and sizes.