Healthcare Data Breaches – 2015 was a record year

Michael Warren, Risk Manager, ARM, OHST

2015 was a year of records. For you golf fans, it marked the debut of the world’s largest useable golf club. At 14 feet five inches, it drove a ball a distance of 524 feet. Unfortunately, the record set with healthcare data breaches was much more than an item of interest.

It is estimated by the Identify Theft Resource Center that 122 million health care records were stolen in 264 separate breaches. Roughly the equivalent of one in every three Americans. While the headlines capture the major targets, most attacks were to small businesses, where defenses may not be as strong as larger companies. The bad news is that attacks are expected to increase in 2016.

What do you need to do to protect against databreaches?

For businesses – make employees aware of threats, what they can do to avoid things like phishing attacks and to report suspected breaches as soon as they are detected. Bolster breach detection and response plans, encrypt and consider conducting penetration testing to find and fix vulnerabilities.

For consumers – self monitor. Check accounts daily, sign up for transaction monitoring from the bank and use long and strong passwords. Its also a good idea to regularly check credit activity through services such as annualcreditreport.com and credit.com.

If you need additional information about how to protect yourself and your business, contact Pharmacists Mutual Risk Management at riskmgmt@phmic.com.