Rethinking IT Security Amid Telehealth Expansion

New report notes an increase of more than 140 percent in mentions of telehealth-related keywords on dark web

February 9, 2021

Telehealth technology has been a lifeline for many healthcare organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic, but this broader access to virtual care also has contributed to increased security challenges for IT managers.

Cybercriminals have been exploiting the pandemic from the beginning, according to Health Tech. A report released last fall by SecurityScorecard and DarkOwl noted an increase of more than 140 percent in mentions of telehealth-related keywords on the dark web in the third week of March 2020.

The impact of this inadequate security is reduced trust in telehealth technology. According to a CynergisTek survey, 48 percent of patients are unlikely to use telehealth again if their personal health data is hacked. Kelvin Coleman, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance, suggests IT managers address current threats by investing in three key areas: solutions, processes and people.

For example, they should secure remote devices and network access tools. IT decision-makers need to ensure their organizations deploy tools with the appropriate levels of security. That takes on added importance as administrative and clinical staff continue to work remotely and patients continue to log on for virtual visits.

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