How to Create and Implement a Password Policy in Your Medical Practice

In the world of healthcare, every medical practice is dedicated to saving lives and ensuring the wellbeing of its patients. But what happens when the fortress guarding your sensitive data has weak walls? It’s time to learn how to create and implement a password policy that’s as strong as steel!

Not Having Password Policies Could Be Your Kryptonite

lock and password spelled in block lettersWe know, we know. You’re tired of hearing the “’password’ as a password” joke. But did you know that TransUnion South Africa was hacked because of that exact thing?

In 2022, hacking group N4aughtysecTU claimed that they accessed the TransUnion server by using “password” as a login credential. The group held the records of over 54 million people ransom for $15 million. So, the password joke might not be much of a joke at all.

Weak passwords pose two major risks to your medical practice:

  • Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities: Weak passwords are like an open invitation to cybercriminals. They can easily gain unauthorized access to patient records, billing information, and sensitive medical data. Your patients trust you to keep their information safe; don’t let a password oversight be your Achilles’ heel.
  • Compliance Risks: HIPAA regulations are paramount in healthcare compliance. A breach due to weak passwords can lead to hefty fines and tarnish your practice’s reputation.

Here are a few signs that your password is being guessed, in case you need a little more convincing!

Password Best Practices for Your Medical Practice

Use these password policy tips to create your own Fort Knox around your login credentials:

  • Strong Passwords: Encourage employees to create strong, complex passwords. These should include a mix of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters. Avoid easily guessable passwords like “password123” or “admin.” We know that it’s impossible to remember a complex combo of letters and numbers. That’s why we suggest using a password manager to store and protect each of your passwords.
  • Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): Implement 2FA wherever possible. This adds an extra layer of security to your authentication process.
  • Password Rotation: Regularly require password changes. Passwords should be periodically renewed to keep them strong and secure.
  • Privacy: Remind employees never to share passwords, no matter how much they trust their colleagues.
  • Create Your Own Security Superheroes: Do you want a few extra security sidekicks? Train your employees to recognize phishing emails and other cyberthreats. Encourage them to report any suspicious emails or messages that might be a sign of a potential breach.

When it comes to your medical practice, don’t skimp on your password policy. A strong password policy is the best way to ensure that your records and data are safe from cybercriminals looking for an easy way in.

Email Security: Protecting Communication

How many emails have you sent today? Gotten any spam yet? According to a report from 2022, approximately 333.2 billion emails were sent per day, with more than 122 billion of them being spam emails.

Protect your email with:

  • Encrypted Communications: Use encrypted email services to safeguard sensitive patient information.
  • Phishing Awareness: Train your staff to recognize phishing attempts and be cautious with email links and attachments.

You’ve Been Breached! Now What?

Even with the best defenses, incidents can occur. In the event of a breach, act swiftly:

  1. Containment: Isolate the breach to prevent further damage.
  2. Notification: Inform affected parties, including patients, as required by law and ethics.
  3. Investigation and Recovery: Investigate the breach and take steps to recover lost data.
  4. Learn and Adapt: Use the incident as a lesson to improve your password policy.

Need Help from the Password Superheroes?

Your password policy goes beyond asking employees to update their password from 2018. It takes a dedicated strategy and ongoing training to ensure your passwords remain strong and secure.

If you need help securing your medical practice and developing a comprehensive password policy, Common Angle can help! We’ll be able to provide the expertise required to protect your systems from potential threats while ensuring HIPAA compliance. Let us be your trusty sidekick and schedule a consultation today!