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Sound digital security is vital in protecting healthcare organizations and the people they service. Because of the extensive data they collect from patients, businesses in the healthcare sector are popular targets for email-borne attacks such as phishing and ransomware, and a  successful attack can result in the compromise of sensitive information, significant downtime and serious compliance issues. HIMSS repoorts that 82% of hospitals have experienced a “significant security incident” over a 12-month span. And data shows that digital risk is greater for small hospitals and healthcare centers with fewer than 500 employees. Seventy percent of ransomware attacks impacting the healthcare sector target these smaller organizations. Attackers recognize and exploit the fact that small healthcare organizations often have “lean security support”, and are more likely to pay ransom than their larger counterparts.

Phishing and ransomware attacks lead to downtime, loss of reputation and revenue. Healthcare phishing attacks are even more serious - they result in the loss of sensitive patient data and patient trust, and put the personal financial stability of the victim at risk. In one such incident, nine employees within Oregon's Department of Human Services opened a phishing email that may have exposed the personal information of around 645,000 people.

These attacks aren’t going away anytime soon, and have only been worsened by the ongoing global pandemic. Clearly, more needs to be done to secure business email in the healthcare sector. Fortunately, there are mechanisms available for those in the healthcare industry to fight back. Organizations will have to continue to implement more advanced protection from today’s most sophisticated threats beyond just that which is included by their cloud email provider. Healthcare providers should be choosing a solution that includes multiple layers of enterprise-grade protection, all working together to rapidly and accurately detect and block both existing and emerging threats. 

Learn why NY Spine Care chose Guardian Digital to secure its business email accounts

We’ve also compiled a list of general technology best practices that organizations can follow to protect their business in any industry.

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