The COVID-19 pandemic has not only changed the way we live but has changed the way that medical researchers are operating. Many organizations have dedicated their time and resources to finding a vaccine for the Coronavirus and need data such as testing results and health records from infected patients to do so. With all of this crucial information being reviewed and used on a regular basis, there needs to be a secure way to protect this data from hackers looking to exploit what could be a life-saving discovery.
Sharing Responsibly to Find a Cure
While there have been some significant efforts to resolve the issues caused by the pandemic, the medical side of the solution is still in the works. There are at least 115 ongoing vaccine initiatives taking place worldwide according to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. The problem is that there is an overwhelming lack of communication between the biomedical researchers as far as their progress and results of clinical studies.
The data is being held as proprietary information in each respective medical community when the true enemy is the community of cybercriminals who are looking to obtain any data relating to a vaccine. Healthcare facilities are even more at risk during this global crisis as employees may click on phishing emails to infiltrate computer systems and encrypt critical data. Hackers are either looking to hold information hostage in order to be paid ransom or are looking to get the vaccine data to sell to someone else.
With a true competition emerging between countries looking to find a cure, data sharing is not at the forefront of their operations. In addition to not wanting to share their own discoveries with another organization, any medical data sharing that does take place can be dangerous if not sent properly over secure and encrypted channels.
Maintaining Privacy During a Crisis
Many countries worldwide have released statements about citizens’ data privacy during the pandemic, especially those who have contracted the COVID-19 virus. While some claim that they will continue to protect personally identifiable information (PII) as well as protected health information (PHI), some statements still outline scenarios in which the data may be used to help researchers come closer to a cure.
According to the European Union’s GDPR laws, one of the instances where the law would not apply is if data is anonymous such as in aggregated data sets. Another example in Denmark allows employers to share information on their employees’ health if the information in question is not too detailed and if circumstances make it necessary. This generic loophole appears in the statements of other countries as well.
Data security is crucial during this time as new research is constantly developing. Google is offering a remote summer internship program where over 1,000 interns will be working with open-source code projects, some of which will be supporting COVID-19 response efforts.
Managing Director of the World Economic Forum, Murat Sonmez, also stated on techrepublic.com that Artificial Intelligence (AI) may play a role in scientists finding a COVID-19 cure. He explained that using AI and machine learning can speed up the scientific method by determining hypotheses from data sets.
Data Protection for All Industries
The idea of data sharing either between individuals in an internship or research facilities around the globe is contingent on one thing: data security. Without a guarantee of privacy or security, AI use and open-source coding to combat the virus will remain vulnerable to attacks and healthcare facilities will not trust one another to keep the data safe on their individual computer systems.
Our line of SecureDrive products is the ideal data storage solution for all industries who need to safeguard sensitive information. The devices are hardware encrypted, GDPR compliant and HIPAA compliant for total security. Users must authenticate before unlocking the device either through complex PIN entry or secure wireless mobile app. SecureDrives are even coated in tough epoxy to prevent reverse engineering.
Our BT model takes security a step further with remote management that allows an admin to monitor who accesses a device and when, as well as set geo- and time-fencing restrictions to only allow drive access during predetermined times and places. Maintain proper access to critical data and protect it from unauthorized parties by using a SecureDrive. Call 1-800-875-3230 to learn more about how these devices can help your organization today.