Healthcare organizations across the country suffer from myriad of network security issues that put their (and their patients’) data at risk.

Unfortunately, many healthcare administrators don’t realize the scope of their cybersecurity vulnerabilities or just how at risk their organization is for a potential data breach – until it’s too late. It’s only after they’ve endured a cyber attack that they begin to address potential weaknesses in their system.

When it comes to data loss prevention, knowledge is power. Understanding some of the biggest network security vulnerabilities can help protect your healthcare organization from becoming the victim of a cybercrime.

Four Common Network Security Issues

1. Incomplete (Or Unknown) Asset Inventory

Many healthcare organizations don’t have a full understanding of every asset that’s currently on their network. Whether it’s losing track of older devices or not recognizing legacy machinery from organizational merges, your healthcare facility may be operating without a comprehensive inventory of all network assets. This can prove a significant problem for organizations of every size and scope simply because it’s impossible to determine security on devices you don’t know are part of your organization.

If you’re not currently operating with a full list of current assets, it’s critical to run an audit throughout your entire network to pinpoint your existing inventory and platforms. The process will likely identify obsolete devices that can be eliminated from your network, potentially reducing your footprint.

Additionally, once you understand various network access points, you can put together a more focused plan of action to keep them secure.

2. Employee Protocol

The most prominent risk to your internal systems may not be a sophisticated cyber hacker. Rather, your network’s biggest threat may be the colleague sitting next to you.

Recent data reveals that as much as 60% of all cyber attacks were actually conducted by insiders within the organization. While some of these data breaches may have been due to an intentional leak or abuse of account privilege, many are often the result of common employee practices that leave the systems vulnerable.

Unprotected passwords, succumbing to phishing campaigns, and lost work devices are just some of the many ways internal employees may put your patients’ data at risk. To help counteract these issues, many healthcare organizations implement restrictions and permissions based on employee need.

Additionally, increasing consistent staff training can also help ensure personnel follow proper protocol for secure email practices throughout the company.

3. Lapsed Security Patches

The cybercrime terrain is tumultuous, ever-evolving, and often overwhelming for healthcare leaders.

Many IT support teams find it virtually impossible to stay on top of both existing and potential threats. As a result, healthcare companies may fail to keep up with security patch updates, leaving their systems at risk for a cyber attack.

The best way to prevent a breach due to a lapsed in security patches is to create a cohesive, disciplined patching program that is resourced appropriately.

4. Insufficient Security Management

Another significant factor that may contribute to network vulnerabilities? Not having enough IT network security resources within your facility.

Not having enough personnel to manage potential threats can mean a delayed response in the event of a breach. Partnering with an outsourced Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) can deliver an ideal solution to a current lack of qualified internal IT staff.

A dedicated third-party MSSP has the training and experience required to keep your systems updated and protected. If a breach does occur, your MSSP will have the resources needed to spring into action as quickly as possible to minimize overall network damage, protecting both patient data and your facility’s corporate interests at all times.