Don’t let this major IT threat take you hostage.
Ransomware is the biggest IT security threat out there for medical practices. When it strikes, your files are encrypted, locking you out of valuable patient information. Even if you have a backup, if it’s not done correctly, that could be encrypted, too. According to industry experts, recovery times can stretch from days to weeks, and unfortunately for some practices, ransomware may become a crippling blow that causes them to close their doors for good.
Here are 4 ways you can stop ransomware from destroying your practice.
Ransomware typically infiltrates your servers when an employee clicks on a link they shouldn’t, inadvertently downloading the malware into the system. But these links are often disguised as legitimate emails, with some appearing to come from a boss or colleague.
Solution: Train your staff to recognize possible ransomware links, and engage a company that can test them with fake links. Those that fail the tests get more training on what mistakes they made and how to avoid them in the future.
Training can reduce the risk of a ransomware attack, but no practice is infallible. At some point, an attack could occur, and it’s vital everyone is ready to minimize the damage and start rebuilding servers to get operations back to normal.
Solution: Create an incident response plan that clearly outlines what steps will be taken by whom if an attack occurs. This should include who to contact in leadership and who to contact in IT. Experts recommend contracting with a third-party security firm prior to any attack that can help mitigate the damage. All software will need to be reinstalled and all malicious code removed before operations can resume.
Most medical facilities are filled with tech devices, and some of these are connected to the network or directly to the internet. But when not secured properly, these time-saving devices can provide an opening for hackers to gain access to your servers and initiate a ransomware attack.
Solution: Check with each vendor to find out how vulnerable the devices are, what they’ve done to mitigate the risk, and if there are any updates that need to be installed.
Many medical practices don’t have the time or money to have a dedicated IT team, and vital files are stored locally and are vulnerable to ransomware.
Solution: Move to the cloud. With cloud computing, your files are stored at a remote location with security being provided by IT experts at a level you couldn’t provide on your own. If ransomware shuts down your local computers, the cloud provider can help get you running again by pulling the backup from the cloud storage. Cloud also offers the additional benefit of protecting your files in case of a natural disaster, since they are stored online in redundant locations.