Utilizing Azure Backup Increases Healthcare Data Security Against Breach Attacks

Healthcare data is increasingly under attack, and the rate of data breach attempts in healthcare will only continue to rise. The vast amounts of PI (personal information)  and PHI (personal health information) that the healthcare industry is required to retain makes this industry a prime target for all kinds of data breach attacks, including ransomware.

The LA Times recently reported a ransomware attack that took place at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, during which hackers hospital took control of the hospital’s IT systems and demanded $17,000 (40 bit coin) before they would give control back to the hospital. The hospital said that no patient data was compromised, but the attack illustrated just how far the healthcare industry has to go in achieving data security.

Threat Vectors Continue to Rise

While the increasing black market value of data makes data breach attacks on all industries a more profitable enterprise, health data is seen as being particularly profitable. A typical patient’s PHI will not only contain all of the traditional information attackers like to target (names, addresses, social security numbers, banking and credit information), but also adds healthcare and prescription data. This data can be used to falsify prescriptions for trending black market drug favorites, such as opiates, for later sales. Another popular use of stolen health care data is in the filing of fraudulent health insurance claims, which according to the U.S. Justice Department amounted to $1.9 billion.  

As healthcare data is made more available to patients by leveraging cloud storage to provide real time data via websites and smartphone apps, the efforts to secure this data becomes more complex.  Additionally, as more IoT devices come online in healthcare organizations, the number of targets grows, giving healthcare organizations much larger scale of devices and data delivery points to wrap their security postures around.

The challenges do not stop here. Many of the IoT devices used in healthcare still transmit information in the clear, making data interception an easy task for any potential attacker using a readily downloadable hacking toolkit. The ever evolving nature of malware attacks, which was the attack vector used against Hollywood Presbyterian, are staying ahead of far too many healthcare organization’s security protocols.

Losses due to critical data files and services being encrypted and rendered inaccessible, as well as to ransoms paid out to the attackers, are increasing exponentially.

Actionable Data Security

The FBI has recommended that a regular backup is the simplest and most effective tool a healthcare organization could have at their disposal, and Azure Backup is the perfect backup solution for the task of protecting healthcare data from all data breach attacks, including ransomware.

And while technical innovation in the healthcare sector can be slower than other businesses, moving data and data backups into a cloud platform like Azure gives a healthcare organization an immediate leg up in protecting and securing its data. When Champion works with a healthcare organization on data protections, we key in on four major points.

  • Reduced server footprint. In backing up or moving important data into Azure, an organization immediately gains reduced operating costs thank to the decommissioning of onsite servers. Further cost gains and operational efficiencies are gained by having your data and data backups managed externally.
  • Improved Data Security. Data stored in Azure will be outside of the reach of data attacks thanks to how your data is stored, and is monitored 24x7x365 by Microsoft’s data centers.
  • Scalability. This ensures that your storage grows with your business. Azure Backup servers scale automatically when your data storage needs call for additional space, saving you time and resources while allowing your IT staff to focus more on day to day organizational tasks.
  • Ease of Backups and Disaster recovery. Most backup and disaster recovery plans operate from the assumption that anything can happen at any moment. That places a large importance on having a good backup and ensuring access to the critical files you need to continue to operate as close to normal as possible.

The Azure Backup data storage offering by Microsoft is an easy and effective way to thwart data breaches and other data attacks while improving overall organizational performance while enjoying large efficiency gains.

One Click Away

The subject matter expertise that Champion has to offer clients in the healthcare industry brings peace of mind to those heavily dependent on data security. We work with you to enact a highly scalable and cost effective data management system that enhances your overall security posture. Contact us today to speak to our Azure design staff and find out what solution is best for you.


A Guide for VM-aware Storage


PCI DSS Analysis for Healthcare Organizations Get A Boost With PCI Analytics 1.9