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Cloud Security Threats Faced by Healthcare Organizations

The healthcare industry has tons of data in their database. The patient data can vary, depending on their health conditions, their lifestyle choices and lots of other sensitive information that can really compromise anybody’s personal life if fallen in the wrong hands. As cloud storage has revolutionized the data storage techniques. It becomes helpful for the healthcare personnel to retrieve data from the computer system instead of the old ways of following the paper trail.

Since these data storage costs are lower and enhance some sort of privacy as compared to old ways of storing data. And according to some research, it is believed that cloud computing in the health industry can exceed 92 billion dollars by the year 2027. But as of now due to sophisticated methods of hacking, the cloud computing in the healthcare industry has led to some serious issues. Since medical information on an individual is sensitive data and protecting that data is of serious responsibility. This post addresses some serious threats that are faced by healthcare organizations and it also recommends some effective solutions that should be tackled to provide better security.

Ransomware & Malware attacks

In the past few years, there have been several incidents of ransomware attacks. In one case, a Ransomware attack on DCH hospitals in Alabama was one of the critical attacks. Eventually, the hospital officials were able to recover their files from the attackers after paying an undisclosed sum of money. The Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report (DBIR) published in 2019 suggests that ransomware attacks accounted for over 70% of malware attacks suffered by healthcare organizations.

It is also wrong to assume that cyber-attacks can only affect large healthcare organizations. It has been also seen that small hospitals and healthcare centers are often targeted. The root cause behind is that they have the least budget and limited resources for security thus becoming soft targets for cyber criminals. Some experts estimate that at least 85% of small- or medium-sized hospitals lack IT security personnel.

Possible solutions

With respect to rise in ransomware attacks, all the healthcare organizations must conduct regular backups, and that backup file should be stored offline or on a separate network from the major network. Also they must conduct a systems check by hiring efficient pentesting services and be prepared in the event of a ransomware attack. Regular evaluation of organizational systems infrastructure must be done and fix any possible vulnerabilities.

Data breaches & theft

Due to sophistication of hacking techniques any data breach takes a long time to come out and access the damage.

According to some research, the average time taken by any healthcare organization to discover any data breach is around 224 days. The financial damage beared by the healthcare sector due to data breaches financially. If you follow the IBM Security report, the cost of a data breach in 2019 alone in the health sector globally was astounding $11 million.

Possible solutions

Health sector can adopt encryption techniques to protect the data in hospitals from being hacked. This way it also ensures that the records are protected and will be unreadable to the attacker the unique decryption key. Therefore, healthcare organizations must consider integrating a customer-centric encryption system into their hospital infrastructure.

Employee mistakes and Phishing attacks

Criminal activities are not just limited to the criminal part there can be several ways that a hacker can exploit to sabotage the health organization. One of the ways can be the negligent mistakes on part of the internal employees.There is always a possibility that the hospital can experience a malware attack if someone is connected to an unsafe network.

This also includes an employee who is a victim of a phishing email, in this scenario he/she can possibly expose the hospital system to a malware attack. According to some research, almost 60% of health IT workers claim that email is the most common way of exposing sensitive information.

Possible solution

Healthcare workers must be educated on cyber security education by hiring effective cyber security services. Due to lack of depth knowledge among the internal employees can lead to huge mistrust among the customer mind. The medical staff must be trained in practicing the basic cybersecurity hygiene and avoid exposing patient data and recognize the sign of any potential cyber-attacks.

Errors due to third party

There are several healthcare companies who outsource their work to third party experts that includes contractors, business associates etc. These individual contractors might have access to the hospital's internal network systems, and can willingly or unwillingly do damage to the company’s system infrastructure. And most of the time these issues go undetected for a long time.

For example, the largest data breach ever recorded in the healthcare industry was traced back to a business associate. About 12 million patient data were put at risk after the cyber attack on American medical collection agency and the actual figures were estimated to be much higher. According to some research, individual contractors are responsible for breach of more than 25 million patient records in the year 2019.

Possible solution

Every third cyber security service must begin with full vulnerability assessment in the hospital's systems. Also it is the responsibility for the hospital officials to check the credentials of the cyber security services before hiring. They should be capable of offering continuous monitoring and must provide pen testing services to check the robusticity of the hospital’s system infrastructure.


Cyber security is important for the healthcare industry given the nature of sensitive data that is involved in the business. They should follow certain security standards that are applied in the cloud computing services and certain checks and improvements must be done every now and then to make the infrastructure more secure.Keep your business data secure with a Cyber Radar Systems management framework and Get in touch for free counsel on the best penetration testing service in the USA.