For Senior Care Franchise Owners: How Safe is Your Clients’ Data?
With the recent massive Equifax breach, data security is at the top of everyone’s list of concerns. The healthcare and senior care franchise industry has not been spared by data breaches and studies show that the risk for compromised information is on the rise. According to Healthcare Informatics, breaches in the industry rose by 40% from 2015 to 2016. So, when it comes to client data in the senior care franchise industry, how safe is it really?
Unfortunately, the same report cited above also found that the healthcare industry was the top place people suffered from stolen social security numbers, phishing scams, hacking, and skimming attacks. Due to the sheer fact that the healthcare industry is full of the elderly could be a reason that it’s the most compromised. Older adults are more likely to be targeted and suffer from compromised data. But what can a senior care franchise owner do to protect patient data?
Know the Risk
By nature, healthcare is a huge target for criminals because of its level of detail. Senior care franchises and other healthcare organizations collect lots of data for each patient from full name, date of birth, social security number, address, Medicare information, and more. The more information thieves can get their hands on, the more lucrative for them. A complete profile of information makes cloning an identity that much easier.
Additionally, if you’re a small senior care franchise, that doesn’t mean that thieves aren’t coming after your data. A common misconception is that criminals only target large businesses in the hopes of gathering massive amounts of data – but the size of your organization doesn’t truly matter. Criminals target small healthcare operations just as much as they do larger networks. The same rules they follow when targeting other businesses like retail don’t apply when it comes to healthcare.
Monitor Your Information
The key to protecting your clients’ data is monitoring. Keeping an eye on data when it comes to your senior care franchise is crucial to making sure it stays safe and out of the hands of criminals. Avoid transfers of large amounts of data as well as the use of USB devices. In addition, encrypt patient data on devices that live in your location whenever possible.
Create policies for all employees that aim to protect data. Ask your employees to refrain from taking data off-site as well as printing out patient data. Compromised data frequently comes from misplaced or tossed out hard copies of patient data. If printing is required, be sure to shred the documents before discarding. Also make sure you have a procedure for wiping hard drives before tossing old equipment just in case.
Keeping patient data safe is key in the senior care franchise industry and beyond. Make sure you take the appropriate steps to ensure you’re being as safe as possible with this valuable information.