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Why the need for effective data security in healthcare is now critical

Why the need for effective data security in healthcare is now critical

It’s hard to imagine another time when effective data security in healthcare has been so important. The positive news around a working COVID-19 vaccine has been tempered by fears of security breaches and cyber-attacks on the very healthcare organisations who are researching the vaccines and running the immunisation programmes.

Healthcare organisations are particularly vulnerable to cyber-attacks and now with such a valuable asset to protect, they are an even more attractive target for cybercriminals. This is why an appropriate safeguarding process for healthcare data systems is so important.

The vulnerability of healthcare institutions

Healthcare establishments typically employ large numbers of people across a diverse organisation. As a result, a cloud-based solution like Microsoft 365 is invaluable – it’s a way to bring separate teams together to collaborate on files, to stay in touch via email and collectively manage patient data. It’s simple and accessible for users too, meaning healthcare IT departments can devote more time to the important work of offering care solutions to patients.

But this reliance also brings serious challenges. Most importantly, Microsoft doesn’t take on any responsibility for the security of data stored within the service. That responsibility still lies with the healthcare organisation itself – and it’s one that not all of them take as seriously as they should. The bottom line is that Microsoft’s default settings are insufficient for a healthcare organisation, and in some cases data is automatically deleted after 14 days. All this means that when a cybercriminal (or human error) strikes, healthcare organisations are often left unable to recover vital data.

The ransomware threat to healthcare data is real

Their reliance on cloud computing software, the high value of their data and the need to continue providing a critical service means that healthcare organisations are particularly vulnerable to ransomware attacks.

These attacks encrypt business data before demanding a ransom to ‘release’ it. The WannaCry ransomware attack on the NHS in 2017 is just one recent example. The attack cost the NHS an estimated £92 million – and while lessons have been learned, many healthcare institutions still leave themselves open to attacks.

The best way to prevent ransomware attacks is to make sure that your data is protected effectively. This doesn’t mean simply backing it up, as the backups can quickly be overwritten with the encrypted data. Instead, the data you back up needs to be held off-site, and unchangeable or ‘immutable’.

Immutability protection is one of the most powerful features available in our CloudCover backup suite. Backing up with CloudCover means that you can recover your data efficiently even if your organisation is attacked with ransomware, due to its air-gapped and immutable facilities.

In addition, secure, robust data also plays a central role in keeping healthcare organisations compliant. CloudCover 365 is our Microsoft 365 backup solution within the suite and it keeps things simple. It allows users to quickly retrieve any deleted data on Microsoft 365 mailboxes, emails, files or sites. This not only saves the organisation time – but also any potential exposure to legal penalties or costs down the line.

CloudCover Object Storage

At virtualDCS we work with a range of clients who come to us to solve problems, including data storage and data management issues. Between us we have decades of experience in creating bespoke solutions to optimise the performance of existing infrastructure and fill in the gaps between systems.

All this knowledge has been ploughed into developing a new cloud storage solution that competes with Azure and AWS on both price and performance. It’s good news, as AWS customers in particular have recently experienced some high profile performance issues.

CloudCover Object Storage will reduce your data costs, free up space on your primary storage and help align your 3-2-1 backup strategy.

In our experience, we know that many IT managers within healthcare organisations are struggling to manage, protect and recover all of their unstructured data. Their budgets are often tight and as a result they face tough investment decisions. Too often their choice is between losing data or spending more on storing data internally.

CloudCover Object Storage allows them to store the healthcare organisation’s data off-site in our data centres. They are then able to enjoy the benefits of Object Storage without a huge investment.

Enjoy a more predictable monthly cost

We also understand that unpredictable monthly expenses are a headache for IT managers. Many providers (including AWS, Azure and Google) charge for every data operation. This means that these charges can go up and down month on month, making budget planning tricky.

We want to keep things straightforward and predictable for under pressure IT managers, especially those in vulnerable healthcare organisations. This is why we don’t charge (or cap) for data transfers to our CloudCover Object Storage platform.

In addition, we’re aware that most IT managers don’t know how much data their organisation will need to access for updates and restores each month. But unlike other providers, we don’t believe in charging extra fees for all of these outbound data transactions. This is another valuable way to keep monthly costs on track.

Need some help?
If you’re responsible for IT within a healthcare organisation, we’d love to talk more with you about how we can help you to keep your data safe.

We’ll work closely with you to come up with a bespoke, cost-effective solution that works for you and your organisation.

Give us a call on +44 (0)3453 888 327 or email enquiries@virtualDCS.co.uk and we will be happy to help.