Reports Show Insider Threat Still #1 In Healthcare

Intelligent ID | March 8, 2018

While data protection is important for every business, it is especially critical for the practices in healthcare industry who hold many patients’ personal and confidential information.

While data protection is important for every business, it is especially critical for the practices in healthcare industry who hold many patients’ personal and confidential information.

The release of two new security reports confirm that healthcare has again topped the list of industries hardest hit by the insider threat. Both Verizon’s 2018 PHIDBR Report and Accenture’s latest release offer fresh insight into the extent of breaches caused by both malicious and accidental employee actions within healthcare organizations.

Healthcare: A Perfect Target

While technology available to the healthcare industry skyrockets, so does the amount of data and sensitive information required to keep it running. Compared to other major verticals, healthcare organizations utilize more PII and PHI on a daily basis and yet require it to be instantly available to many levels of employee at the same time. This seems particularly true in the US. In fact, Thales reports 77% of US healthcare organizations report they’ve had at least one data breach incident and 56% describe themselves as ‘vulnerable’ or ‘very vulnerable’ to an incident.

“Healthcare is a veritable treasure trove of valuable information,” says John Schoew, lead of Accenture’s health & public service security practice in North America. The adoption of electronic medical records (EMRs), wearables, and other healthcare technologies has created a wealth of data, making healthcare organizations an attractive target for data thieves, he says.

The User as the Weakest Link

Another revelation from both Accenture and Verizon’s reports comes in the form of confessions from the users themselves. Like all industries, healthcare is not immune to everyday accidental breaches of data in the form of misplaced data, lack of secure workflow, or misdirected emails. These accidental breaches are increasingly common in the hurried, over-stressed healthcare environment where human error often comes into play.  However, Accenture reports that 1 in 5 healthcare employees surveyed expressed that they would willingly sell unauthorized data to third parties including selling login credentials, transferring files, or installing tracking software on sensitive devices. Shockingly, 24% of employees said they knew someone who had already done so. Breaches of this nature are especially damaging, shining a spotlight on the organization’s security gaps.

“When it comes to healthcare cybersecurity, however, the stakes are higher,” Schoew cautions. A healthcare data breach could have a significant impact on patient care, cause reputation damage, and hurt enormously from a financial standpoint. Accenture’s research has shown that cyber breaches cost individual healthcare providers on average of more than $12 million, and individual victims, an average of $2,500, he says.

The Intelligent ID Healthcare Solution

With these challenges clearly identified, the goal of the security team must be to focus on a proactive, user-based approach that can close the gaps that network-based intrusion detection systems leave behind.  In addition, the ability to tie security violations to compliance violations is vital in identifying risks at the endpoint level.

Intelligent ID is endpoint-based user monitoring and analytics software that secures organizations’ business assets by continuously monitoring and alerting management to suspect events taking place. We provide endpoint security by monitoring file and user activity across multiple channels, alerting administrators to abnormal behavior on your endpoints. Additionally, we offer both data at rest and data in motion solutions to suit the unique monitoring needs of your company, including data loss or theft activity, compliance infractions, workplace liability issues, inefficient use of time and resources, infrastructure concerns, insecure file access, and more. For further information, visit us at or contact us at Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+!

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