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eDocTalk article

Don’t be vulnerable — ten tips to prevent a cyber-attack

 August 2017

How prepared is your practice for a cyber-attack? Can it withstand a threat? Cyber security is another item to add to your list of practice responsibilities because of the consequences of an attack.

For perspective, there are thousands of organizations and individuals affected by cyber-attacks each year. Add on the recent increase in ransomware attacks, including the one that took down the vendor that provides Legacy’s transcription service, and our ability to provide safe, quality care to our patients can be compromised. These attacks are costly, too.

In the words of John Kenagy, Legacy’s chief information officer, “An information security breach can be devastating for any organization: the loss of revenue, the loss of critical data and information, the loss of trust and reputation. Attacks are getting more sophisticated, but grave consequences can come from simply opening the wrong email. Smaller organizations have tended to fly under the radar screen for targeted attacks, but there’s a lot of malware swirling though the Internet.”

To help you along, we’ve include a list, Top 10 Tips for Cybersecurity in Health Care (from the government’s Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT), developed specifically for small practices. Print the PDF for more detailed descriptions or see individual checklists below.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Establish a Security Culture around the use of patient and practice information and technologies
  2. Protect Mobile Devices (see Mobile Device Checklist)
  3. Maintain Good Computer Habits (see Maintenance Checklist)
  4. Use a Firewall (see Firewall Checklist)
  5. Install and Maintain Anti-Virus Software (see Anti-Virus Checklist)
  6. Plan for the Unexpected (see Backup and Recovery Checklist)
  7. Control Access to Protected Health Information (see Access Control Checklist)
  8. Use Strong Passwords and Change Them Frequently (see Password Checklist)
  9. Limit Network Access (see Network Access Checklist)
  10. Control Physical Access (see Physical Access Checklist)


While we can’t guarantee this information will prevent an attack, we are offering you tools to prepare and reduce the risk to your practice.

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