1300 764 482

The Importance of Online Security when Storing Medical Records on the Cloud

AUTHOR: SyberScribe, July 4th, 2016

People are liable to treat the web with a much more laissez-faire approach than it deserves. But the digital world can be perilous, and when you’re dealing with confidential, sensitive information, you should exercise care at all times.

Electronic media is vulnerable to attack from hackers; and as use of electronic medical records increases, the odds of a large amount of important data coming under siege from cyber threats also increases.

You need to be prepared not just for malicious attempts attempting to access your files, but also for the simple bugs and errors that have claimed millions of users private records.

There are many reasons why cloud security is important for businesses, and this especially applies to medical professionals storing sensitive information about their patients. But how can you protect yourself and your information? By sticking to a tried and tested service provider, you’ll most likely never have to experience loss of data. The Cloud is now one of the most lucrative targets in the digital world, and therefore reputable cloud service providers have a strong incentive and dedicate lots of time and money too keeping their service in tip-top shape – it’s their reputation and their business on the line!

Know your environment

While cloud storage comes with a huge number of advantages, security on the internet isn’t the same as in the physical world. While a decent building and safe will keep you safe from all but the most intrepid thieves, anyone seeking entry to your data through the web has some distinct advantages:

  • It’s easy to stay anonymous on the internet. There’s no need for a balaclava and thick gloves when you can simply mask your tracks via a proxy.
  • It’s low risk. Dependant upon circumstances, it’s relatively simple for an attacker to conceal their actions, as a simple request that can get lost in a stream of data. And even if the request isn’t lost, the hacker still has the benefit of anonymity.
  • They don’t have to be physically near you. Attackers can bypass a firewall from the other side of the world!
  • A physical business usually only has the records of its clients. A large online medical record could have thousands, or millions, of customers.
  • You’ll generally be able to tell if someone has broken into your home or office. Not so with the internet! Quite often it can take weeks or months to catch a break in – if you catch it at all.

Security for electronic medical records has historically been alarming lax. It took around ten years after the establishment of HIPAA to establish security protocols requiring regular security checks. Nowadays the field employs rigorous safety measures, however there are still many businesses that might lock their front doors at night but leave their web wide open.

The cloud is also vulnerable at multiple points of entry. When using the cloud there are twelve main security weaknesses. While it’s still one of the more secure options available, there’s a need for constant vigilance every step of the way. You need to be certain your data is secure at your base of operations, en route (digitally) to the cloud server, and at its end point.

Be proactive

If your business is going to be using the cloud to store and/or share medical data you’re going to have to employ, or outsource to, a competent IT team capable of withstanding and adapting to the latest in cyber warfare.

Think of it as a game of chess between two teams: Hackers and Security. It may seem as if all the Hackers pieces are all there – except they also have invisible pieces which they can make work against the regular rules in illegal fashions, constantly putting Security on the backfoot.

Security teams won’t know which pieces are about to move, how they’ll move, or whether they’ll obey any of the rules outlined so far. They’ll never be fully sure if they’ve won, exactly how many pieces are left, what those pieces are, or even if the enemy has some pieces inside their own defensive line.

The only advantage Security has is they’re a world class player, and they’ve been playing this game for decades now. They’re constantly monitoring the field, cutting down on potential weaknesses, and know they’re prepared for any future attacks from the Hackers.

There’s no way for Security to fully ‘win’, as once you’ve beaten one Hacker another can just spring up in their place. Instead, Security is constantly tinkering with their strategy, covering holes in their defence, and keeping up their bulwark.

In Security, you can’t afford to let your guard down. You have to always be prepared for potential attacks and constantly consider your own weaknesses so you can remedy them.