email best practices

Healthcare IT: Your Essential Guide to Making Email More Secure

Yes, there are countless cybersecurity threats plaguing healthcare networks across the country at any given moment. However, recent reports suggest that many data breaches across any industry specifically occur due to poor email security practices within the company. A 2017 Data Breach Investigations Report indicates that as much as 66% of malware on compromised networks comes from email attachments. As a result, IT departments in every vertical are upping their encrypted email standards and protocol to prevent a cyber attack from denigrating network security, retrieving passwords, stealing data, and bringing the entire system to a standstill.

Don’t risk an email cyber attack at your healthcare facility. Follow a few simple tips to implement best practices that reinforce a secure email environment throughout your organization.

Strengthen Passwords

Weak passwords provide easy access for hackers and cybercriminals, making it essential to redefine password parameters throughout healthcare organizations of every size and scope. If you don’t have a list of standard rules and guidelines to use, it’s officially time to implement them. Some essential components of a strong password include requiring upper and lower case letters as well as numbers and special characters. Additionally, always educate personnel on the importance of never using common combinations like birthdates, names, or hometowns.

Develop Two-Tier Authentication

Unfortunately, sometimes even the most stringent password guidelines won’t stop a motivated hacker from bypassing email network security. Adding two-tier authentication can create a second layer of protection in the event of a breach. Even if cybercriminals manage to guess account passwords, the two-tier authentication system will still require a code before they can move forward within the network.

Educate Staff On Phishing Attacks

Email phishing is a simple yet effective way for hackers to trick system users into handing over their sensitive data and passwords. Typically, the phishing process includes a hacker sending an email to users with a link to a known, trusted site. While the site may look familiar, it’s actually a fake page set up by the hacker. Once a staff member logs on to the fraudulent page, the cybercriminal is able to steal the associated email address and password.

The best way to prevent a phishing email cyber attack? Effective personnel training. Educating your team about what a phishing scam looks like and how to remain vigilant when screening all received emails can help protect individual users and your network security as a whole.

Keep Company Emails For Company Business

It’s often common practice for healthcare employees to use company emails for private communication. However, sending and receiving emails for non-business purposes can exponentially increase the odds of a data breach within the organization. Implementing a company-wide best practice that prohibits the use of internal email for personal communication and online purchases can help keep your system protected.

Scan Every Email For Malware And Viruses

Embrace the mantra that the only safe email is a scanned email. Installing a virus screening solution within your network can help carefully scan all incoming communication to pinpoint vulnerabilities before it’s opened. An effective system will send an alert any time it discerns a potential threat to your system, allowing you sufficient time to quarantine the email before it can compromise security.

Are you concerned about secure email at your healthcare organization? Fortified Health Security can help. Contact us today for a consultation about your current email environment and to hear more about how we can help protect your organization from a data breach.