5 Steps for Keeping Hackers Out Of Your PC
Some practices think, “I am so small, hackers will never find me”. Wrong! If you are on the internet, have a PC, or have a server, you will be found! Saying “It won’t happen to me” is simply not enough. Harm to your systems and data can be a fatal blow at the heart of your medical practice, affecting your daily operations and your credibility with patients, and even other providers. It is not just large companies that need protection against security breaches. Every practice needs a strategy for keeping hackers out of their systems. Below are 5 steps to keeping hackers out of your PC.
1. Assess your risks, and create a security policy. You cannot protect yourself if you don’t know what your weaknesses are. Do a full HIPAA Security Risk assessment, and start putting together your policy and procedure manual together. Be concerned with things like external factors, disgruntled employees, ex employees and network vulnerabilities. Think it through, and go from there.
2. Get help in identifying your weaknesses. If your a medical professional, your not a network engineer. How would you know what you need to do? How do you know if your IT people are doing their jobs? It is always good to have a check and balance system. It certainly won’t hurt.
3. Pay attention to your physical security. Is your building protected by an alarm system? Camera? 24 hour guard? Do you have keypads going between doors? You may not thing this is important when it comes to hackers, but hackers are thieves, and thieves steal computer systems.
4. Make sure you have a good antivirus and antispyware. If I was putting this list in the order of importance, this would be number 1. You don’t want to make it easy for hackers to enter your PC. You want to make sure you have the best antivirus protecting you against viruses, worms, malware etc. Planting things on your computer could take months, if not longer for you to identify you were attacked.
5. Train your employees on how to protect their workstations. Teach them how to lock the workstation when they go to lunch, or how to identify a Phishing scheme, or spyware. Educating them is your best defense.
Some other things you can do to protect yourself is change your password regularly, and have a good password policy in place. Use two factor authentication. Stolen or compromised user credentials are a common cause of breaches. You want to protect your network, and your staff.
Today the risk of a data breach, virus, malware or ransomware is greater than ever, for large and small practices alike. But security does not have to be complicated. By using the right tools, partnering with the right vendors and implementing safeguards, your practice can reduce the risk and keep out of the headlines.
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