Health of the Cloud in Healthcare Businesses

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Gone are the days when healthcare organizations used to store patient data in piles of papers and files. Not only was that inconvenient and time-consuming, but also expensive in terms of both money and resources. Now, with exponential growth in technology, more and more healthcare businesses are moving to the cloud.

In fact, by 2027, the global market of healthcare cloud computing is estimated to cross $92 billion, as per a Research and Markets study.

How Cloud Computing is transforming the healthcare industry?

Healthcare organizations handle a multitude of patient data every day. And going the cloud way helps them do that more efficiently and conveniently. With all the necessary information in the cloud, healthcare businesses can store, access, update, and retrieve any piece of cloud-hosted healthcare data they need at any given time. That, in turn, helps patients receive timely and optimal treatment.

Moreover, moving to the cloud also cuts down costs compared to conventional data storage methods.

However, such advancements in health tech have brought in a wave of vulnerabilities and cybersecurity threats. Whether targeting sensitive patient information or healthcare facilities’ network operations, hackers adopt newer tactics to weaken cloud security. For example, they steal crucial patient information and use them to file false claims, impersonate identities, or resell to dark-web operators for higher profits.

How do hackers attack the cloud? What are the threats? Let’s find out.

Top 5 Threats Healthcare Industry is Facing in the Public Cloud

While cyber-attackers keep evolving their hacking mechanisms, the following are the most common types of healthcare attacks you will come across:

Ransomware Attacks

In ransomware attacks, hackers steal healthcare organizations’ data and ask for a ransom to return the same. If the targeted healthcare business fails to pay the demanded amount, hackers delete and destroy the entire stolen data. Such an occurrence can cause a massive blow to the organization’s operations and the quality and future of patient care. Therefore, the targets for ransomware attacks are both big and small healthcare businesses.

For instance, DCH Health System in Alabama suffered a ransomware attack in October 2019. The attack forced all three medical facilities of DCH to shut operations. The authorities had to pay an undisclosed amount as ransom to hackers to get back access to their files.

Insider Threats

Insider threats make for about 48% of all data breaches, as per the Data Breach Investigation Report 2020 by Verizon. Surprising, isn’t it?

Unfortunately, insider attacks often occur due to employee carelessness, lack of training, or deliberate attempts for financial gains. And healthcare organizations, too, tend to overlook its significance while focusing all their energies on strategizing and developing countermeasures for external attacks.

Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) Risks

The IoMT refers to various medical devices (including wearable ones) and apps connected to the network of a particular healthcare organization. It streamlines treatment and patient data, facilitating more straightforward data access. However, at the same time, these multiple access points expose the system to hackers, making the entire health network infrastructure vulnerable.

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Threats

DDoS attacks, launched through malware, disrupt access to the entire health tech network, often leaving it inoperable. After infecting computers, the malware turns them into bots and gives total control to the hackers. It becomes almost impossible for heal