Protecting health data is a huge endeavor. Not because it is more difficult to protect healthcare data in comparison with data from other industries, but because no other type of business is monitored and regulated so deeply. The need for compliance within the healthcare industry is far greater – and why not, especially considering the direct impact on human life. This means that should a healthcare data breach take place, there needs to be a well thought out plan in place to tackle it head on. Below, are 10 essential considerations for putting together an effective healthcare data breach plan.
- Clearly identify the actual goals that the healthcare data breach plan needs to accomplish. What is the most important thing that needs to be done? Kill the chain of a security breach? Begin actions to mitigate risk? Find out why the breach occurred? Deciding which goals are the top priority will help you shape the overall plan.
- Bring the right people to the table. You are going to need input from many different departments and experts. Forge these people into a specialized working group that will be responsible for creating the overall data breach plan and maintaining it into the future.
- Know the overall risks. Highlight the touch points within the organization where data breach is most likely. This could include physical aspects such as laptops or tablet devices being lost or stolen. It could also include process-created risks, such as ineffective password policies or lose control of document flow.
- Understand your capabilities. Is the organization able to handle the workload of dealing with a data breach? Does it have internal access to the skills needed? Will it need help from external specialists?
- Develop your data breach plan to cover all parts of the organization. If it operates across multiple physical sites, the plan needs to fit them all. It is not feasible to develop a data breach plan for each different location. A standardized plan keeps things simpler.
- Get your firefighters ready. This means putting together a team of people who are always ready to take action should a data breach occur. This team needs to understand that if they are called upon, their responsibilities as part of the team take precedence over any other job function.
- Don’t overlook communication. One of the best ways of minimizing the damage of a data breach is to make people aware of what has happened, and what they need to do to help. This means setting up clear business processes for making sure everyone in the enterprise knows what has happened and what they need to do.
- Test, test and test again. Today’s plan may not work tomorrow. Part of the responsibility of the core data breach team should be to constantly test and revise the plan to make sure it is always effective.
- Induct data breach risk mitigation in to your organizational culture. One of the best ways of preventing a data breach is to make sure that employees are proactively working towards working in a more secure way.
- Always be on the defense. Every other team in the organization is probably working in an offensive manner, striving to achieve operational goals. The data breach team needs to do the opposite and work in a defensive way.
These are 10 very important considerations when putting together an effective healthcare data breach plan. Taking each of these on board will help to ensure that the plan you devise has the best chance of success should the unfortunate disaster happen.
For more actionable strategies to curtail security risk, download the HOSTING white paper: How to Save your Company from a Data Breach.