Healthcare industry advised to do more thorough risk analyses

Healthcare organizations see an expanding landscape of uncertainty that has raised concerns among security pros and points to the need for more thorough threat analyses, a study showed.

Risks posed by health insurance and information exchanges, employee negligence, cloud services and mobile device usage has dampened confidence in protecting patient data, the Fourth Annual Benchmark Study on Patient Privacy & Data Security found. The study, released Wednesday, was conducted by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by data breach prevention company ID Experts.

Despite the concerns, the study showed progress on the security front. The average cost of data breaches for organizations represented in the study fell to $2 million over a two-year period, compared to $2.4 million in last year's report.

In addition the number of data breaches fell slightly. The survey found that 38 percent of the respondents had more than five incidents in the last two years, down from 45 percent last year.

"This coupled with an increase in organizations' level of confidence in data breach detections suggests that modest improvements have been made in reducing threats to patient data," the report said.

At the same time, security pros have been battling a rising number of data breaches caused by criminal activity in and outside an organization. Such breaches accounted for 40 percent of all incidents of data loss compared to 20 percent in 2010, the study found.

Three-quarters of the organizations said employee negligence represented the greatest security risk.

Almost seven in 10 organizations believed the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, increased risks through the establishment of more than a dozen state health insurance marketplaces and the federal government site. The primary concern was insecure exchange of patient information between healthcare providers and government.

Employees using their own mobile device on the corporate network were also a major concern, yet nearly nine in 10 organizations condoned the practice.

While cloud services were also a big concern, 40 percent of the respondents used the cloud heavily, an increase of 32 percent from last year. Services most used included backup and storage, file sharing, business applications and document sharing and collaboration.

Another major area of concern was trusting sensitive patient data to third parties or business associates. Almost three-quarters of the organizations surveyed either had no confidence or were only somewhat confident in these entities.

Overall, the study points to a need for more thorough risk assessments to reduce security concerns, Rick Kam, founder and president of ID Experts, said.

"Whether it's with a business associate or a government entity, they should all be working together to do a risk analysis and understand what the current threats and vulnerabilities are, so they can collectively find ways to mitigate those risks," Kam said.

The survey is based on interviews with senior-level personnel at 91 healthcare providers.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags security

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Antone Gonsalves

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place