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Increasing Medical Data Breach Awareness

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    Increasing Medical Data Breach Awareness

Troubling news for businesses, and consumers, across the country: Medical data breaches continue to become more prevalent, with the number of incidents and victims seemingly growing all the time. The good news, though, is that more people and organizations are aware of these threats, and that serves as both an encouraging sign and a better line of defense.

For 2017, the number of major reported data breachesacross the country year to date is already at 858, according to the latest Data Breach Reports from the Identity Theft Resource Center. These incidents affected more than 16 million records. Moreover, these incidents were spread across a number of different industries, highlighting how vulnerable just about any type of organization may be when it comes to being hit by such incidents.

What was most common?

According to the ITRC report, the business category has experienced the majority of breaches this year, accounting for over 53 percent of all incidents and 56 percent of record exposed. Following in a distant second are medical and health care providers, with 213 breaches in 2017 and accounting for 19 percent of records exposed.

While businesses still lead in the number of breaches, the healthcare industry is catching up, possibly because companies are working towards < href="https://ag.ny.gov/press-release/ag-schneiderman-announces-record-number-data-breach-notices-2016" target="_blank">doing a better job of detecting and reporting,/a> such incidents when they happen, according to the latest data from the Office of the Attorney General for the state of New York. Last year, the Empire State saw about 1,300 breaches reported, up 60 percent from the year before, and those incidents affected some 1.6 million state residents. Hacking attacks accounted for about 2 in every 5 breaches, but nearly 1 in 4 were the result of the inadvertent exposure of sensitive details that left victims open to identity theft and fraud.

A focus on health care

Given the massive amounts of sensitive information they collect, it's often care providers and other affiliated organizations that are most impacted by targeted data breach attempts, according to the latest Protenus Breach Barometer. In February, health care organizations in the U.S. reported 31 major breaches, which exposed more than 206,000 records. Of those, four were the results of hacking attacks, and 18 were caused by insiders. However, in the latter case, nine came as a result of insider mistakes, rather than intentional wrongdoing.

And while a handful of these incidents took months or even years to report - one took nearly 2,200 days - most were resolved in short order, likely indicating that companies are getting a better handle on detecting and remediating these incidents as time goes on.

How costly is it?

There are many ways in which data breaches can end up costing victims - whether they're individuals or the companies involved - significant sums of money, according to a Healthcare Finance News article. For organizations, in particular, the costs can quickly rise into the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, even before factoring in the potential for fines from the federal government. More to the point, though, the longer breaches go undetected, the greater the risk of fraud becomes, and the costlier these incidents can become.

It's vital for all kinds of organizations to be aware of these types of breaches, because while your business may not operate in the medical realm, employees may be affected by medical breaches. Protecting employees through a voluntary employee benefit, like identity theft protection, can help employees be prepared if these type of breach occurs. Also, it’s important to keep track of the updates in data security in all industries, because it’s unknown which industries hackers will focus on next. Learn more about protecting your employees’ identities and keep up to date with breach focused cybersecurity news with Identity Guard Business Solutions.

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