The New Year inspires many of us to make positive changes in our lives. However, it’s unlikely we will all maintain our resolutions throughout 2018. According to U.S. News, approximately 80 percent of resolutions fail by the second week of February. While the New Year symbolizes a fresh start, it is not enough to actually drive people to make major changes in their lives. For many, change is overwhelming. It’s easy to set goals, but it is challenging to stay motivated and keep the momentum going as the year progresses. When we make New Year’s resolutions, we’re setting ourselves up for failure.
The same can occur with security and compliance requirements that are reviewed annually. You might confirm that your security program is efficient and compliant every year, but you are opening your organization up to security risks if that monitoring weakens as the year progresses. This is an incredibly risky approach, as security threats evolve daily and new vulnerabilities are around each corner.
Don’t abandon payment security like you abandon your New Year’s resolutions. Here are five tips for maintaining strong security year-round:
- Keep Sensitive Data off Your Network
The best way to protect sensitive data from security threats is to limit the amount of data that lives on your network. Healthcare organizations can leverage technologies like point-to-point encryption (P2PE) and tokenization that protect data stored or transferred on their networks. P2PE prevents people from viewing cardholder information and protects the confidentiality and integrity of this data. Tokenization converts data into a token that is associated with your organization. This unique association prevents someone from using the stolen token for anything other than the intended purpose. Learn more about P2PE and tokenization.
- Train Staff to be on the Lookout for Threats
Many cyberattacks rely on human error to gain access to a healthcare organization’s data. Train your staff to make sure they can recognize attacks like social engineering, phishing and malware. Education is important for all members of your organization, not just employees managing billing and payments. More than 95 percent of past breaches were a result of human error, so develop your training with the assumption that your staff will make mistakes.
- Develop and Continuously Monitor Your Security Program
As the technology we use to protect our data becomes more complex and innovative, so do the hackers that target healthcare organizations. Healthcare is an especially attractive target for criminal cyberattacks because of the valuable information healthcare organizations store. To keep your payment information secure in an ever-evolving world, monitor your security program constantly. Show your security program the love it deserves by dedicating the right team and resources to develop and strengthen it throughout the whole year. Read more about how to consistently keep your data safe.
- Apply Patches Immediately
When vulnerabilities are discovered, organizations should promptly apply security patches to protect systems that could be compromised. Cyber attackers act very quickly, so it is critical to apply a security patch as soon as possible. If you don’t apply a critical security patch to a vulnerable system within 30 days, you may also lose your status as PCI compliant, according to the PCI-DSS requirements. Learn more about security patches and how to recover from a security vulnerability.
- Choose the Right Vendor
You can guarantee quality and the highest levels of security and compliance for healthcare payments if you seek out partnerships with vendors who have the best certifications in the industry. Keep in mind that some vendors may claim to be compliant, but haven’t actually put the time and resources into undergoing audits and achieving certifications. Here’s a helpful list of the kind of credentials you want to look for when selecting a healthcare vendor.