As we are all aware, the EU GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) came into effect in May 2018. The new law extends the rights of individuals regarding the collection and processing of their personal data as well as introducing stricter guidelines to health and social care organisations on the collection, processing and storage of individuals’ data.
Along with this is the increased challenge of cyber threats for organisations. It is reported that the health and social care industry experiences the highest number of data breaches annually.
The wealth of data available on NHS networks makes the industry very attractive to cyber criminals. This was demonstrated in 2017 when ransomware affected hospitals and GP surgeries in England and Scotland, ultimately costing the healthcare organisation tens of millions of pounds and causing thousands of appointments to be cancelled.
Furthermore, as patient information is often available to a wide scope of personnel, the risk of an accidental breach is also increased.
To minimise these risks, healthcare providers should have robust information security plans in place should a breach occur. However, it is also important for individuals to take the necessary precautions when it comes to cyber security.
How can I prevent cyber-attacks?
There are precautions you can take to significantly reduce the risk of cyber-attacks:
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