This is the one sector that is perhaps the most closely watched over in terms monitoring and safeguarding the Personal Identifiable Information (PII) of the patients, which is primarily driven by HIPAA.  Here are some steps that you can take to make sure that those records remain protected, and that you do not face an audit and possibly have to pay any penalties for non-compliance:

  • Have a well-established Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Policy:

With the trend now being that many healthcare workers now offer their services virtually, the chances are even much greater now that your employees will choose to use their own, personal devices to conduct their daily job tasks.  While it is always best to issue company devices, this may not feasible anymore.  Therefore, you need to establish clear policies when it comes to BYOD.  Since technically the Electronic Healthcare Records (EHRs), you have every right to audit your employees’ own wireless devices, to make sure that the data is not being misused in any way.

  • Make use of a Password Manager:

Given the high sensitivity of patient data, it is particularly important that the passwords that your employees use to access this information is changed on a regular basis.  True, setting up new passwords and making them both long and complex is not only time consuming for your healthcare workers, but it can also make a huge dent in your bottom line. Therefore, you should seriously consider making use of a Password Manager.  This is simply a software-based application that not only securely stores your passwords, but it can create those long and complex ones so that your employees do not have to remember them, but best of all, it can create new ones on its own, at a preestablished time interval that you decide upon.

  • Protect the physical access to the Electronic Health Records:

It is important to keep in mind that the EHRs just do not reside onto the wireless devices of your healthcare workers.  They will also reside upon the corporate servers of your organization as well.  So therefore, you should limit the access that your employees have to your server, or data center.  That is why you should use a combination of security tools such as smart cards, FOBs, and even physical identification procedures as well.

The Financial Sector

The financial sector is also equally prone, if not more, to Cyberattacks as well.  The entities in this industry also make use and store the PII of clients, but since these kinds of datasets are broader in nature the organizations in this sector come under the close scrutiny of the data privacy laws of both the GDPR and the CCPA.  Here are some top Cybersecurity tips:

  • Always monitor your network infrastructure on a real time basis:

True, just about every financial institution is making use of some combination of       firewalls, routers, and network intrusion devices to beef up their lines of       defenses.  But the problem with this is that each of these devices will output   their own individual log files to report any anomalous or suspicious behavior in          the flow of the network traffic. Because of this, the IT Security team will very   often get inundated with false positives, thus greatly increasing the chances that       real alerts and warnings will go unnoticed.  In this regard, you should make use of     what is known as a Security Information and Event Management tool, also known        as a SIEM. Coupled with the use of Artificial Intelligence technology, this         software package can collect all of these log files, filter out for the false positives, and present only the legitimate warnings and alerts in one central, unified view        for quick and efficient triaging.

  • Always vet out your third parties:

According to a recent study from the Ponemon Institute, financial companies shared the PII of their customers to an average of 583 third party vendors, and 59% of them experienced a security breach.  Worst yet, only 16% of those financial companies kept track of their third-party vendors and took any proactive measures to protect the PII datasets. 

Given the digital nature of the financial markets and the trading activities that precipitate from it, is absolutely crucial that you carefully scrutinize any third-party vendor that you are considering hiring to help in the processing of any financial information and/or data.  You must make sure that they have the same kinds of security policies that you have, but equally important is that you have to make sure that they are compliant with the GDPR and CCPA statutes as well.  Remember, if your third-party vendor experiences a security breach and if it impacts the PII records of your customers, they will not be held responsible, you will be.

  • Heavily restrict downloading mobile apps:

Many workers in the financial industry now also conduct their job tasks straight from their smartphone, or any other type of wireless device.  Whether they use company issued or their own devices, you must make sure that you carefully monitor the kinds of mobile apps that your employees download.  The primary reason for this is that Cyberattackers are constantly finding new ways into entering mobile apps and deploying their malware payloads that way.  Probably the best line of defense against this is to establish a whitelist of approved mobile apps that can only be downloaded.  Also, if you are considering of increasing that list, then it is imperative that you test out those new mobile apps in a sandbox environment before they are included on that approved whitelist.

Conclusions

Overall, this article series has examined some of the top Cybersecurity tips for the Retail, Healthcare, and Financial industries.  While they will help to beef your digital security, this is by no means an exhaustive list.  The other tools that you are considering using will be heavily dependent upon your own unique security requirements.

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