Ever since COVID-19 emerged as a global threat, the healthcare community has faced unique cybersecurity challenges. From fear tactics to specialized messaging, it’s especially important that your business know how to identify and respond to these attacks. Even if you think your company can bounce back from an attack, the truth is, it’s not so simple. Worse, cyberattacks don’t just affect your finances or company’s reputation; they also affect your employees, your patients, and the greater healthcare community.
Here are several ways a cyberattack can affect these groups (and what you can do to protect them):
Right now, companies are doing everything they can to avoid layoffs. But if your business is successfully attacked, your already dwindling finances will take another hit. Money to recover from an attack has to come from somewhere… and chances are that your employees will be directly affected.
Already, healthcare organizations are being forced to cut employee hours and pay due to decreasing revenue. Other organizations have had to make the hard decision to downsize or furlough staff. These decisions show that healthcare is already in a precarious place—and the last thing you want is to make it more precarious, thus affecting the livelihood of your employees.
(If this all wasn’t bad enough, less employees means less people to help your patients).
Unfortunately, a cyberattack can cause your patients to lose trust in your business. But this loss of trust is only the first way in which cyberattacks can damage your relationship. If your hospital or clinic is reallocating funds to pay off ransomware, where will you get the money to treat your patients? Will you have to put off getting new medical devices or essential tools, like masks and gloves?
Beyond the financial aspect, patients won’t be happy if their healthcare information is comprised during a breach. They might even become less trusting of healthcare in general, which could lead to them seeking out help less often. And right now, the idea of sick individuals walking around untreated is an especially scary thought. This act could lead to even more individuals becoming sick, thus creating an even bigger strain on already-stressed hospitals.
The Rest of the Healthcare World
If one company falls for a cyberattack, there’s a good chance another company will, too. And if a hacker makes money off of an attack, they’ll have the funds to pull off an even more intricate attack against even more companies. In other words, if you fall for an attack and pay it off, you’ll be financing additional attacks—and since the hackers will have learned from their experience with you, those attacks will have a greater chance of succeeding.
Cybersecurity is essential. And global events have made the need for healthcare cybersecurity even more apparent. An attack doesn’t just impact your company: it affects your employees, patients, and community. But on the flip side, this means you have some control over protecting those who might be hurt. Invest in MFA and endpoint security. Test and train your employees. And remember that security is a team sport: we’re all in this battle together.