Stop bad actors in their tracks, safeguard patients, and stay HIPAA compliant in the cloud
- Most on-premises servers aren’t configured correctly for security, which leaves them at risk for cyberattacks of all kinds.
- Ransomware attacks most often target healthcare facilities, and even one attack can pose a serious risk to patient care by disabling local chain networks across the country
- Additional risks are substantial: A data breach can cost facilities money, reputation, and legal consequences by violation of HIPAA and other regulations
- Cloud-based PACS offer a solution to security problems through encryption, strong passwords, and other state-of-the-art security measures
Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting the medical industry because of the wealth of personal and financial data contained in patient records. The biggest risk is caused by locally stored health records and images, which are not always properly configured or enabled.
Local storage means IT staff must be constantly vigilant. They must make sure the system and all connected devices are updated regularly with upgrades and patches, that data is encrypted, and that the whole system is protected with state-of-the-art security software. Most bad actors are using ransomware attacks, and since many hospital chains share the same computer network across their locations, one ransomware infection can delay medical procedures across the United States.
Cybercriminals have become increasingly sophisticated, and local patient image storage means healthcare organizations have complete responsibility for security. However, most lack the resources to do the job properly. Cloud-based picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) offer the superior security required to keep patient images safe and meet HIPAA requirements. Here’s why and how.
3 very real threats to locally stored patient images
Cybercriminals have more than one target to get into your patient’s personally identifiable information (PII) from your local electronic health records (EHR). Your EHR contains everything bad actors need to commit identity theft, including name, birthdate, address, and Social Security number. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
- Medical images, test results, diagnoses, treatments, and other health records can be combined with other personal information by cybercriminals to execute insurance fraud. Your patient’s data is highly prized, fetching a good price on the dark web. This comes at a high cost to the medical industry, with some data breaches causing $6.45 million in damages and fines, or $429 per patient record.
- Your local server isn’t the only weak link. Your supply chain can make you vulnerable as well, as criminals slither into your network via unsecured applications and suppliers. MedTech companies that supply management apps are a particular problem. While they may have their own security protocols, these apps work by communicating with the servers owned by the healthcare organization.
- The systems you use likely were not designed with security top-of-mind. Legacy products aren’t always able to be made secure with modern technology. Cybercriminals are always looking for an easy way in. Your in-house PACS system is especially vulnerable and has triggered an alert from the Department of Health and Human Services.
Healthcare organizations can continue to struggle with security and risk the financial, legal, and reputational damage wrought by cybercrime, or they can take the modern approach and move to PACS in the cloud.
Cloud PACS keeps patient medical images secure
Cloud PACS shifts much of the responsibility for security to a vendor. While staff will still have to be trained on proper security protocols, the cloud is managed by experts with state-of-the-art cybersecurity.
In addition, cloud PACS means images are securely accessible from any location on any device with an intuitive interface. This includes encryption at every stage, whether the data is sitting there or being transmitted, and meets the 2003 HIPAA standards for security of protected health information, FDA, and DICOM standards.
The main security features in cloud-based PACS include:
- Encryption that allows only authorized users with the proper credentials to unlock an encryption key and turn the data into something that can be read instead of the “scrambled” language of the encoded files.
- Security for each session and transfer. Browsers will not be cached from the session, and each session will automatically time out after a certain period if someone forgets to log out.
- Protection via passwords, and not just any password will do. Passwords must be complex and changed regularly.
Using cloud PACS gives your organization more than security – it is more cost-effective than on-premises servers. In addition, it provides enhanced collaboration between practitioners with anytime/anywhere access to patient images in a secure cloud environment, solves storage issues, and provides connectivity flexibility. DICOM files can be stored and accessed from any compliant device, are interoperable with RIS or EHR/EMR systems, and integrates with Modality Worklist processes.
A cloud PACS archive also ensures business continuity should disaster strike, something that cannot be achieved with on-premises servers.
DICOM Director’s Store XR – for medical image security you can count on
Store XR allows you to store all images in one place and access them easily. It offers TLS encryption, data-at-rest encryption, and web access to DICOM objects (WADO), which uses HTTPS protocols, is coming soon.
Cloud-based PACS means scalable storage and enterprise-level archiving, all with a user-friendly interface. Don’t wait for an attack by unscrupulous cybercriminals – it’s time to get secure with Store XR. Get in touch today.