2 min read

5 Helpful Cybersecurity Tips for Veterinary Hospitals

Since June 2020 cybercriminals stole nearly 16 billion records of sensitive information such as names addresses and payments due to a lack of cybersecurity.

Being an animal clinic some people think they don't have to worry about cyber attacks. But you still have patients who log their home addresses and credit card numbers into your system. All of which are prime targets for hackers. 

Keeping your veterinary records safe and secure online is extremely important. Check out these five helpful cybersecurity tips for veterinary hospitals.

1. Get a Risk Assessment

No doubt you are busy running your veterinary clinic and caring for animals. While you do your best to implement the best business security measures possible for your electronic protected health information (ePHI) you are still liable to miss a few things.

Hiring a company to come into your office and perform a risk assessment will give you a sense of how well you have protected practice. Having an extra set of eyes will help catch any security holes you may have. They will also discuss business solutions with you and how to make your ePHI more secure. 

2. Limit Employee Data Use

As a rule of thumb be sure to limit ePHI use to a select amount of employees. Allowing everyone access to sensitive information raises the risk of a breach of security. Designate one or two trusted employees to have computer access and password knowledge. 

3. Encrypt Everything

Encryption programs keep hackers from understanding ePHI data. If someone breaks into your system and you don't have encryption they can steal patient info with ease. However if you enlist encryption over all of your information they won't be able to read or use the data because it scrambles the text. 

4. Use Strong Passwords

According to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency a strong password is one that hackers have a hard time guessing. Many people make the mistake of using passwords using personal information.

The problem here is that a hacker can likely find out things about you through public records. It is best to use a password containing words that no one can predict. That means no sports pets street names or numbers in numerical order.

A good password includes:

  • A variety of symbols and numbers
  • About 16 or more characters
  • Lower case and capital letters
  • A long string of words that only you understand
  • Something about yourself that only you know

If you have a hard time thinking of a password consider things like your favorite cartoon as a child or a secret code word. 

5. Train Employees

Employee training is essential to maintaining cybersecurity services and compliance. You can sign your staff up to take a course in HIPAA compliance or hold regular staff meetings to discuss safety protocols.

Be sure to use a list of rules that include things like:

  • Never leave a computer on and unattended
  • Always lock laptops away 
  • Never write down login information
  • Never share passwords 
  • Never speak about patient PHI or ePHI

At the same time you want to let your veterinary employees feel safe talking to you. It is best for them to tell you about compromised data instead of hiding it in fear of negative repercussions. 

For More Cybersecurity Tips

As you can tell there are several methods you can implement within your veterinary office to ensure your sensitive information stays safe. Remember proper training goes a long way for employees handling ePHI. And a risk assessment will catch the holes in your safety measures that you may have missed.

We hope this article helped you in formulating a plan for a safe environment within your veterinary office. If you enjoyed this article and want more cybersecurity tips and services then please contact us today. 

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