Every healthcare organization, regardless of the devices used, faces the risk of cybersecurity attacks. However, the use of mobile devices and apps can bring the risk of a cyber attack to another level.

Apps and mobile devices are highly effective, affordable, and convenient ways for medical facilities to manage a diverse range of components throughout the patient care continuum. Unfortunately, the ease of use on mobile devices and apps makes them a prime target for cybercriminals on a global scale.

To protect their patient information, providers must remain vigilant, exercising extreme caution with their data loss prevention efforts as they embrace mobile devices as part of their operations and services provisions.

Practical mobile device cybersecurity tips

Think before you launch

Before you launch the app, it’s important to understand and document the risks that are being introduced.  Simulation offers an ideal approach to recognizing the security of your apps. If you identify a threat during simulation, it’s essential to address the risk immediately. Additionally, you should always stay up to date on the changes and improvements being made to the app to help you remain protected.

Establish strong user authentication

You cannot fully control who is using your app at all times. Sophisticated (and motivated) cyber hackers can infiltrate an app and manipulate information for their benefit. Establishing a rigid user onboarding process that captures and verifies the information you receive can help manage who is accessing your digital systems.

Beyond the sign-up process, the login process should also involve a secure user authentication. For example, you may utilize a 2-factor authentication or multi-factor authentication to minimize the chance of cybersecurity attacks. This authentication protocol should also apply to the mobile application used among staff members as well, to limit the opportunity for users sharing a single device.

Monitor mobile device management

The mobile devices used in a healthcare facility can pose a serious network security risk. If internal staff members utilize mobile devices to connect with stored facility data, it’s critical to optimize user security across the organization. The type of equipment used to communicate with your digital platforms will determine the security protocol. For example, Apple’s stringent protocol on data breaches includes security measures that enable you control who installs your app.

Update software and systems ASAP

Failing to update mobile devices increases exposure to potential hackers. Once the system and software developers release the updates, your IT and network security professionals should be equipped to install them. Develop a set of best practices regarding how your organization manages system updates, being sure to include a protocol for periodic forced employee updates. 

Include staff involvement and training

Your internal staff can prove a common conduit for mobile device and app cyber-attacks within your organization. As the day-to-day users of your technology, they can unknowingly put your facility at risk. Conduct regular staff training sessions to make sure they are informed of the potential risks and some of the things they can do once they detect a cybersecurity threat. This regular exposure helps them understand and prevent malware attacks, phishing, and also keep their mobile devices up-to-date.

Get real-world insights and strategies for strengthening the cybersecurity culture of your healthcare organization in our on-demand webinar