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How to Avert a Catastrophe with a Strong Disaster Recovery Plan

Posted by Blue Technologies Ohio on Nov 22, 2021 8:15:00 AM

Hackers are targeting healthcare operations — and nursing homes in particular — to disrupt operations and force payouts to ransomware demands. By locking up access to electronic health records (EHRs), malicious actors can interfere with critical care, billing, the processing of test results, and more — all of which can be devastating to the nursing home and the patients they serve. In fact, any element of operations that is tied to IT-based infrastructure is at risk, so even phone systems, accounting functions, and building access and security can be shut down.

While individual nursing home organizations can be targeted, some hackers are focusing on nursing home systems, where a single operator runs thousands of nursing homes across many states. Either way, so long as nursing homes and senior living facilities are in receipt of large quantities of personal, health and financial data, they will remain prime targets for cyberattacks. For this reason, a strong disaster recovery plan should be part of every nursing home’s standard operating procedures.

Providing Business Continuity and Data Protection with a Strong Disaster Recovery Strategy

Nursing homes and senior care facilities must focus not only on prevention, but also business continuity when creating a cybersecurity strategy for their organization. In the event that a breach is successful, you will need a robust disaster recovery plan to ensure your organization can continue to provide critical care and health services to residents.

To begin with, it is important to understand where weaknesses and vulnerabilities can be present in your facility, including:

  • Staff that is uneducated about typical hacker tactics such as phishing, social engineering, malware, or other methods used to gain access to networks and data
  • Poor password habits and hygiene and lack of multifactor authorizations or access controls
  • Old security software and lack of regular updating and patching of both hardware and software
  • Wide use of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) or in-house connected devices like tablets and smartphones

Identifying all vulnerable areas is typically more successful when you have the help of a competent third-party partner with specific knowledge in cybersecurity. Once weaknesses have been identified, you can use the following best practices to manage them:

Best Practices for Managing Cybersecurity Risks in Senior Living Facilities and Nursing Homes

The long-term healthcare industry must give serious attention to minimizing the risk of data theft or loss, either intentional or accidental. To do this, consider working with a third-party partner to develop a strong disaster recovery and response plan. Such plans often identify team members who will act in the event of a breach and their roles. The plan will also outline steps to be taken to control and mitigate the damage and establish important best practices such as:

  • In-house training of staff on good cyber hygiene, including how to identify phishing and social engineering techniques.
  • Promoting network security through the adoption of routine maintenance and infrastructure assessment schedules as well as ensuring all hardware and software are patched and updated as soon as updates are released.
  • Using remote monitoring and intrusion detection systems to detect and prevent incursions
  • Using access control tools and password management systems
  • Ensure the redundancy of backups and data storage

In addition, consider working with a Managed IT partner who is well-versed in keeping their clients compliant with data protection and privacy requirements such as HIPAA and other applicable international, federal, and state data security legislation.

Blue Technologies Has the Knowledge and Skill to Protect Your Organization’s Data

As the past few years have shown, disasters can happen in many ways. Your organization’s data can be at risk not only from cyberattacks, but also from natural disasters, technology failures, inside thefts, and even human error. Any or all of these things can cause costly downtime and interfere with your ability to care for your clients properly. 

At Blue Technologies, we have assembled a team of cybersecurity and backup and disaster recovery experts that will assess your current infrastructure for vulnerabilities, then create a solid, robust backup and disaster recovery plan to keep your business running in the event of a disaster. Our custom-tailored solutions offer cost-effective, efficient ways to ensure your data — and that of your residents — stays protected.

Reduce the risks associated with natural — or manmade — disasters. Contact a Blue Technologies consultant for more information about our Managed IT services, including backup and disaster recovery.

Topics: #managedIT, #cybersecurity, #DisasterRecovery, #NursingHomes, Cyberattack, seniorcarefacilities, disasterrecoveryplan

About Blue Technologies

Blue Technologies is an award-winning office technology solutions provider. Since 1995, we have offered office hardware, managed print services, document management, and IT solutions to businesses throughout the state of Ohio, becoming the region’s most reputable office technology provider in the process.

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