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By no means was Kansas Heart Hospital the first victim of its kind, and it surely will not be the last. If the rash of ransomware attacks that have taken place over the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that any organization in any industry – particularly health care – can fall victim to an attack that results in a data breach.
However, this case does provide a few key lessons that other hospitals should pay close attention to, including:
Having a plan is important: Kansas Heart Hospital did have an emergency plan in place, which is best practice in the current data breach environment. Health care organizations should be prepared for such an incident, and never operate under the assumption that this type of scenario won’t take place at their institution.
A quick response is key: Oftentimes, before the outright signs of infection are examined (i.e., a locked screen with a ransom demand), hackers work in the background of the network and internal systems to prepare for the actual attack. It’s critical that whenever any type of suspicious activity is observed, it is reported to the IT team and addressed.What’s more, it’s never too early to launch a response plan. As Kansas Heart’s example shows, a late response can result in a more widespread infection.
Backing up critical information is essential: Thankfully for Kansas Heart, the hospital had backups of its critical information that it could draw from after the attack. The importance of having these backups cannot be understated, as it can prevent an organization from having to even consider paying a ransom. With securely protected backups in place, hackers are powerless.
Put protection in place beforehand: It’s also critical for hospitals to have industry-leading protection measures in place before an attack ever occurs. One of the most important best practices here includes the use of a robust firewall that can guard against unauthorized access, helping to block infections.
Work with an expert solution provider: Duick noted that Kansas Heart Hospital worked with an expert consultant after the attack, helping the institution reach the conclusion that paying a second ransom was not wise. This illustrates the importance of partnering with an industry-leading, knowledgeable solution provider that can help ensure that your organization has everything it needs to remain protected.