The growing threat of data breaches in industries of all kinds continues to be one of the most critical, yet simultaneously neglected, components of a proper business plan.
Unfortunately, the industry that collects the most sensitive (and extensive) data is also one of the most vulnerable to cyber threats. And sadly, the real cost of a healthcare data breach is much higher than many people realize.
The real cost of a healthcare data breach
As we shift an unprecedented amount of information from file cabinets to the cloud, businesses continue growing their exposure levels.
As you can imagine, this is particularly relevant for the healthcare industry and the information they collect.
This treasure trove of data, plus the absolute need for urgent care facilities to remain functional at times, makes them an exploitable target of hackers.
But what does it REALLY cost the industry?
What do the statistics say?
According to IBM Security’s 2020 data breach report, the healthcare industry leads all sectors with an average price tag of 7.13 million dollars per data breach.
The dollars per healthcare data breach is substantially higher than the average cost per violation across all sectors. (IBM tags it at $3.86 million, or $1.49 per record) Additionally, the average time to identify and contain a breach in the healthcare sector is 329 days, 96 days longer than the average.
Another startling statistic? Over HALF of all US businesses have been hacked!
The cost of a healthcare data breach grows each year
While the costs of a breach continue to grow year over year, it’s essential to note the unique nature of COVID-19 and its impact on these breaches.
Now, a substantial portion of the population works from home and virtually accesses work networks. That means there are countless more avenues available for hackers to access poorly maintained or weak security systems.
This access has led to more vulnerability than ever before. And sadly, it will undoubtedly continue to raise the costs associated with data breaches.
(While you’re here, don’t miss: Top 10 Ways to Prevent Ransomware Attacks!)
When businesses face the hard cost of a breach, such as the cost of mitigation, lost time and productivity, and outside consultants’ hiring to manage situations, the damage doesn’t stop there. There are also costs associated with litigation against the breached party by those who have had their protected information leaked.
In 2015, Anthem was subject to a historic healthcare data breach in which over 78 million unique user records were exposed. After an investigation, seven state insurance commissioners found a nation-state was behind the attack, which began as a phishing campaign.
To date, they’ve paid well over 100 million dollars in settlements pertaining to the breach. To begin with, this is one of the most dramatic cases we currently know of. And at the same time, it speaks to the sensitivity and risk of a breach of patient protected information.
Another consideration is the risk of fines and penalties from the government if and when breaches occur.
As a result of stringent regulations associated with HIPAA, any leaks of data are strongly penalized. This includes penalties ranging from several thousands of dollars in the most minor of breaches to millions of dollars for ones of a more massive scale.
How to mitigate a healthcare data breach
Mitigation of a healthcare data breach is much more likely if a company has these key bases covered:
- The correct combination of security protocols
- A well-trained staff
- A properly funded and staffed IT department
- The ability to continue monitoring experts and security consultants’ advice
While it may be tough to prevent a breach entirely, it’s still possible to put in place safeguards to assure that if a breach occurs, it’s short. And at the same time, that a minimal amount of information is compromised.
Today is a better day than ever to discuss the risks your business faces and work on drafting a comprehensive cybersecurity plan! CloudNexus is here to have that discussion with you and find a solution that works for you and your business.
Contact us or call (502) 440-1380 to get started today.
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