Why Giving Your Healthcare Staff the Right Mobile Phones Prevents Costly Cyberattacks
By MESUT GUVEN, SPECTRALINK CTO
2020 and 2021 were tough years for healthcare organizations. The twin challenges of the COVID-19 response and staffing shortages stretched their capacity to the limit. And to make matters worse, these difficulties were compounded by an increase in the frequency of aggressive cyberattacks.
Let’s look at some of the startling statistics.
- • More than 93% of healthcare organizations experienced a data breach in 2020 (Herjavec Group)
- • 67% of US healthcare organizations have been victims of ransomware attacks during COVID-19 (Ponemon)
- • In 2018,over 33% of healthcare organizations suffered a security incident due to a mobile device (open access gov)
- • Over 41 million patient records were hacked in 2019 (Fierce Healthcare)
There are many reasons healthcare is an attractive target for cybercriminals. The increased connectivity that mobile solutions offer significantly broadens the digital surface area for cyberattacks. And the situation becomes more dangerous if healthcare providers have BYOD (bring your own device) policies in place.
Private health records are also far more lucrative than credit card information. A complete electronic health record can fetch upwards of $1,000 in ransom. To put into perspective just how valuable that is, a single data breach last January at Florida Healthy Kids saw over three million records stolen.
Healthcare workers increasingly access EHRs via mobile devices and applications that need to be continually updated with advanced security measures. It is easy for IT departments with constrained budgets to overlook an update or fall behind given the number of apps and mobile devices in use at any given time. One vulnerability on one mobile device or application can open the door for a criminal to seize thousands, if not millions, of patient records.
The healthcare industry lost an estimated $25 billion to ransomware attacks in 2019 (Safeatlast). Aside from the cost of the ransom, which about a third of organizations simply paid, there is the additional cost of lawsuits. Health records are highly sensitive. In fact, their privacy is a civil right. Loss of that data could have legal consequences.
In the event of a data breach, hospitals need to adjust their operations to circumvent hacked devices. Operations are slowed because this is not a normal part of operations (staff are not usually trained to enact a cyberattack protocol).
According to Ponemon, 70% of healthcare organizations reported longer lengths of stay or delays in procedures that lead to poor outcomes following cyberattacks. And nearly a quarter reported an increase in patient mortality.
The right enterprise-grade mobile solution can simultaneously tackle two IT priorities: reduce IT costs and improve security.
Spectralink uses Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Mobile Application Management (MAM) solutions to ensure your mobile network (which accounts for a significant portion of your digital perimeter) can easily be updated with the most advanced security measures. These platforms also allow you to control and monitor the apps loaded onto your devices and limit open internet access.
Mobility management solutions also give your IT department the ability to quickly identify and lock lost or stolen devices. A recent report showed that 68% of healthcare data breaches were due to the loss or theft of mobile devices (Kiteworks).
Spectralink smartphones are built on top of Google’s robust Android platform and are designed for healthcare-specific and HIPAA-compliant applications. They also leverage Qualcomm’s secure chipset platforms that protect data at rest and in motion.
Contact us to learn more about how our mobile devices can help protect your healthcare operation from cyberattacks.