How Data Backup in Healthcare can make or break response to Ransomware

Data Backup in Healthcare

Data backup in healthcare plays an important role in the healthcare sector now a days as the hospitals need to preserve and protect the patient and other related data from any disaster.

With the rise in health hazards, lifestyle diseases, and pandemics, healthcare has become increasingly relevant. Diseases cannot be cured overnight, so patients often need ongoing medications and medical professionals should be ready to handle any emergency or hidden side effects that may develop from these diseases. For all this, information should be available to clinicians every time which means the whole data of the patient's medical data along with history should be stored electronically! And with EHR (Electronic Health Record), comes the security of data. If there isn't enough security of your data at your hospital / Clinic etc, hackers can have easy access to the critical information, which means losing the data or paying a big amount of ransom to get it back. So,  everyone needs a good data backup in healthcare to protect against the disaster of data loss.

Indeed, healthcare organizations should always be on top of their game in protecting their data and the best way to ensure that they are ready for any emergency situation is by investing in reliable cloud backup solutions for healthcare.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts your data and demands a ransom for the decryption key. This type of attack can be devastating for healthcare organizations, as it can lead to disruptions in patient care and loss of confidential data.

Also, in most cases, paying a ransom does not guarantee the full recovery of data.

No matter how big or small your healthcare organization is, data backup in healthcare is crucial to your success. In the event of a ransomware attack, having a robust data backup plan can mean the difference between a quick recovery and a long, drawn-out process.

An effective data backup strategy is critical for any organization, but it is especially important for healthcare organizations that may be targeted by ransomware. By having secure backups of your data, you can ensure that you will always have a copy of your data even if your primary system is compromised.

Instead of paying a ransom, you can rely on cloud backups to get your data back.

Impact of Ransomware on Healthcare

The CyberPeace Institute has released new data on cyberattacks in the healthcare industry. According to the latest figures, 295 cyberattacks are known to have been conducted on the healthcare sector in 18 months between June 2, 2020, and December 3, 2021. The attacks have been occurring at a rate of 3.8 per week and have occurred in 35 countries. 165 attacks were confirmed ransomware attacks and another 98 were suspected of involving ransomware.

In a 2021 survey conducted of 597 health delivery organizations (HDOs), 42% had faced two ransomware attacks in the past couple of years.

After all, ransomware attacks undermine health care organizations’ mission of providing their patients with timely care. Consider the following findings from the Ponemon study:

  • Nearly three-quarters (71%) of respondents reported that a successful cyber attack had resulted in longer stay lengths for patients
  • About the same proportion said that ransomware attacks had created delays in medical procedures and tests that resulted in poor outcomes for patients who needed them
  • Slightly fewer (65%) said that the attacks had yielded an increase in the number of patients diverted to or transferred to other facilities
  • More than a quarter (36%) of respondents had witnessed an increase in complications from medical procedures following a ransomware attack
  • About a fifth said cyberattacks had increased their patients’ mortality rate.

The strategy for Data Backup in Healthcare, to avoid Ransomware attacks

There are a few things to keep in mind when planning your data backup strategy in Healthcare organizations. 

  1. Make sure you have multiple copies of your data - At a minimum, you should have two copies: one on-site and one off-site. A typical cloud backup strategy helps achieve this. Keep one local copy and at least one cloud copy. You can opt for multiple cloud copies as well to doubly protect yourself.
  2. Use a variety of media for your backups - This could include external hard drives, USB flash drives, CDs/DVDs, or even online backup services. Cloud copy goes out of your network so an attack on your network does not touch your backups.
  3. Test your backups regularly -You should restore your data from backup on a regular basis to ensure that it is working properly. This helps you to be ready with the right procedures at the time of disaster and be more confident about your backups.
  4. Keep your backups secure - Make sure that your backups are stored in a secure location that is not accessible to unauthorized individuals. Look for cloud backup options that do support multi-factor authentication so that even a password loss does not let someone delete your backups.
  5. Have a plan for how you will restore your data if it is lost or corrupted -This includes having the necessary software and hardware required for restoration. A good idea could be to keep the UAT servers ready to be promoted to production in event of a hardware failure in production.
  6. Have your backup's integrity tested regularly - Look for a service provider/solution which performs regular consistency checks on the data stored so that corrupted backups (if any) are segregated immediately.
  7. Manage & monitor your backups well -Review your storage usage patterns and bandwidth consumption. A sudden increase in data size should be closely monitored to see if encrypted files are getting backed up.
  8. Scan your backups for possible threats -A good backup solution should provide a facility to scan through its own processes. Scan the backup packets during backups so that infected data is not backed up. Scan the storage repository for zero-day explosion and monitor it against the latest threats developed post backups. Ensure that data is scanned during restorations so that an infected packet does not get recovered and re-infect your network.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that you have a robust data backup strategy in place to protect your organization from ransomware attacks.


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