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Report: Healthcare industry highly susceptible to data breaches

A yearlong investigation by the Washington Post found that the healthcare industry is far behind other sectors in terms of cyber security.
A yearlong investigation by the Washington Post found that the healthcare industry is far behind other sectors in terms of cyber security.

Data breaches have become a common concern for businesses across many industries. With technology changing each day, and companies working to upgrade their computer systems, cyber criminals are finding that valuable information can be available at their fingertips. It's exceedingly crucial for organizations to ensure that they have a comprehensive disaster recovery plan to account for data breaches.

Without a comprehensive risk analysis, recovery could be hindered. In order for quick business resumption, companies need to prepare for worst case scenarios.

A recent report from the Washington Post said that the healthcare industry is more likely to suffer from security breaches than other sectors. The yearlong investigation found that as medical facilities have tried to become more efficient and improve care by expanding their use of technology, they have exposed a wide array of vulnerable hospital computers and medical devices to hacking.

"I have never seen an industry with more gaping security holes," Avi Rubin, a computer scientist and technical director of the Information Security Institute at Johns Hopkins University told the Post. "If our financial industry regarded security the way the healthcare sector does, I would stuff my cash in a mattress under my bed."

In recent months, officials with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have expressed growing fear that healthcare presents an inviting target to cyber criminals. A DHS intelligence bulletin said in May that such vulnerabilities may result in possible risks to patient safety and theft or loss of medical information.

Rubin explained that a failure to fix known flaws in aging technology has made the healthcare industry more susceptible to hacking. Additionally, doctors, nurses and other staff members often sidestep basic security measures, such as passwords, in favor of convenience.

While creating convenience is something that many businesses strive for, cleaning up after a severe data breach will not be easy. Working with business continuity consultants can help a company create a comprehensive disaster recovery plan.