Healthcare Cyber Security: Leveraging Essential8 Protections

Healthcare professionals train in cyber security measures

Healthcare Cyber Security: Leveraging Essential8 Protections

In the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats, small to medium businesses (SMBs) in the healthcare sector face unique challenges.  With sensitive patient data at stake, leveraging Essential8 Protections in Healthcare can safeguard against cyber attacks, and improve security posture. 

The Essential8 protections provide businesses with a comprehensive framework designed to fortify cyber defences and mitigate risks across key areas. By coupling this framework with a well-designed, practical and sustainable training program in Cyber awareness, SMBs in healthcare can foster a culture of cyber safety while bolstering their security posture.

CyberPathways Cyber Essentials training includes Essential8 topic areas that address core needs and allows healthcare professionals to leverage the essential8 protections.  These areas include: 

Device Safety:

Ensuring the safety of devices within healthcare environments is paramount. From medical devices to administrative computers, each endpoint represents a potential entry point for cyber threats. Essential8 protections advocate for robust endpoint security measures, including regular patching, application whitelisting, and disabling unnecessary services. Cyber Awareness training reinforces best practices for device safety, educating employees on the importance of secure device usage and identifying suspicious activities.

Person using phone receives suspicious message

Phishing Emails and Malicious Links:

Phishing attacks continue to be the most common form of cyber crime, particularly in healthcare where staff may be targeted with emails masquerading as legitimate communication from patients or colleagues. Essential8 emphasises the importance of email filtering and user education to combat phishing attempts. Cyber Essentials dives deep into recognising phishing emails and malicious links, equipping employees with the knowledge and skills to identify red flags and respond appropriately, thereby mitigating the risk of falling victim to such attacks. CyberPathways also offers related phishing simulations and real-world exercises that bring training to life for your employees, and reiterate concepts learned during Essentials training. 

Password Strength and Protection:

Weak and shared passwords remain a significant vulnerability in healthcare cybersecurity. It’s super common to see healthcare workers using the same simple password across multiple data-rich technologies.  Essential8 advocates for the implementation of strong password policies, including the use of complex passwords and multi-factor authentication. Cyber Awareness training reinforces the importance of password security, educating employees on creating and managing strong passwords, as well as recognising and reporting attempts to compromise passwords.

Malware and Ransomware Identification:

Malware and ransomware pose significant threats to healthcare organisations, potentially leading to data breaches or even disrupting critical healthcare services. Essential8 promotes the use of antivirus and antimalware solutions, along with regular system backups to mitigate the impact of ransomware attacks. Cyber Awareness training enhances employees’ ability to identify signs of malware and ransomware infections, empowering them to take immediate action to contain and mitigate the damage.

Data Flows and Personally Identifiable Information (PII):

Protecting sensitive patient data is a top priority for healthcare SMBs. Essential8 underscores the importance of data encryption, access controls, and data loss prevention measures to safeguard PII. Cyber Awareness training educates employees on handling PII responsibly, emphasizing the need for data encryption, secure transmission methods, and adherence to privacy regulations such as HIPAA. By understanding data flows and the importance of protecting PII, employees can contribute to a robust cybersecurity posture within the organization.

Outcome: Fostering a Culture of Cyber Safety

By aligning Cyber Awareness training with Essential8 pillars, SMBs in healthcare can effectively and efficiently enhance their cyber safety culture. Through built-in testing of knowledge and skills, employees gain a deeper understanding of cybersecurity best practices and their role in mitigating risks. 

By addressing weaknesses in key areas of cyber defence, organisations can better protect patient data, uphold regulatory compliance, and safeguard their reputation. With a proactive approach to cybersecurity education and implementation, healthcare SMBs can navigate the complex threat landscape with confidence and resilience.

Interested in bolstering your healthcare organisation's cyber security?

We will help human-proof your Cyber Security, and build business resilience and confidence. Read more about Cyber Essentials here, or talk to one of our experts about tailoring a training package to address your cyber vulnerabilities. 

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