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Ransomware: Avoiding the Nightmare Scenario

Just when we thought the job could not get more stressful…we took on Meaningful Use, Omnibus, ICD-10, EMR upgrades, breach avoidance and risk assessments. We’re gearing up for population health management, ACOs, value-based purchasing, MACRA, market consolidation and the unknown frontiers of health reform. No problem.

 

Suddenly, something dark and dangerous is lurking on the west coast; an unthinkable nightmare scenario that sounds more like science fiction than the next challenge in healthcare IT. An invisible, untouchable enemy has rendered an entire hospital effectively ‘down’ from an IT perspective. After almost two weeks under siege, Hollywood Presbyterian blinks, and pays the ransom.

Healthcare is now an even larger target for attacks ranging from data theft to an increasing scourge of ‘Ransomware.’ The frustration is palpable as IT executives strive to help transform a healthcare system that is in desperate need of more efficient processes, more complex analytics, reduced costs and better outcomes. We know that IT is a keystone, but we are forced to escalate attention, resources and capital on security and protection systems. There is no way around it – a necessary evil.

My simple advice is this: “Fear no evil.” These attacks are largely avoidable with the right security measures in place. This is a good time to take stock of your security program and your backup solutions. In the worst case scenario, your pain should only last as long as your backup recovery process – so make sure that your backup strategy is fully functional. Comport is ready to help with risk assessments, backup assessments and a brand new offering: CISO as a service.

Secure the perimeter, update your policies, educate your people and prioritize your critical infrastructure, servers and PHI. Find a trusted partner to ensure that you have excellent control. Comport specializes in hospital IT infrastructure and is ready to assist with a new set of eyes, and extra hands on deck…so you can remain focused on your strategic priorities.

Then get back to the business of leveraging IT to be an enabling force to help your organization, your community and your patients transform with the healthcare industry into a better, safer and more efficient place.

Jim Cavanagh

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