Unfortunately, in today’s digital world data breaches, ransomware attacks, cyberattacks, hacks, and insider threats among other technological perils are a fact of life. It is common knowledge that these breaches can be extraordinarily damaging with effects on the organization or business, as well as to personnel, affiliates, and patrons. However, through a ripple effect a data breach can cost lives.

To understand how far-reaching the effects of a breach can be, one needs only to consider a proverb dating back centuries, but the wisdom still applies to the 21st century:

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.

For want of a shoe the horse was lost.

For want of a horse the rider was lost.

For want of a rider the battle was lost.

For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.

All for want of a nail.

Put another way, imagine encountering one incident in an interconnected environment that alters the future. As an example: a car accident slowing traffic, making a person late for work, thereby missing an important meeting. This scenario could cost a person his or her job, or cost the company a lucrative business deal. All because of a car accident.

A breach can range from a stinging nuisance to one with staggering costs. However, the concentration on the financial consequences most associated with breaches fails to consider the interconnectedness involved that creates a ripple effect. Beyond the usual casualties from an attack, these incidents have the potential to have tragic consequences.

Silent Killers

A study out of Vanderbilt University found a correlation between data breaches against hospitals and an increase in their mortality rates. The study argues that up to 2,100 deaths may have occurred because of data breaches at hospitals. The study cites myriad reasons for fatal incidents, including canceled appointments and lack of access to patient records.

In one particularly damaging attack, the Campbell County Health system in the small Wyoming city of Gillette was devastated. While administrators responded to the breach, the hospital and almost 20 clinics in town were forced to redirect patients to other centers. In a sparsely populated area like Wyoming, this meant sending people over 70 miles away to seek care; this could take an hour at a time when minutes count. Even a major urban area is not protected despite a greater concentration of facilities, as such an attack would shift the burden and patient load on to other hospitals in addition to patients already seeking care from unaffected centers.

Medical systems in the United States are not the only victims of such breaches. A late 2020 cyberattack against a Düsseldorf hospital in western Germany led to the death of a woman directly from an attack. The ransomware incident hit 30 servers belonging to the Universitätsklinikum Düsseldorf, and ultimately forced the hospital to turn away patients, including this woman, who had a life-threatening condition. She was routed to nearby Wuppertal. It was too late, however, and the woman died due to lack of treatment.

When a data breach happens, disruptions to the business and other effects can manifest in the wake of one. One of the most impacted industries—as well as among the most consequential—is healthcare. Recent studies have found a correlation between data breaches on medical centers and adverse effects on patients—and no identity theft or financial loss were directly involved.

Preventive Care

As many medical professionals know, preventive measures are preferable to treating an illness. Data security ought to be approached with this same philosophy. A comprehensive backup and security solution can help to prevent or mitigate breaches, not only to protect a healthcare organization from financial loss, but also to potentially save lives.

The SecureDrive external drives and SecureUSB flash drives both provide additional protection through PIN or password authentication. They allow not only backup solutions of valuable data in hardware-encrypted units, but also are perfect for medical personnel to use on the job while transporting confidential information.

The BT drives can be enhanced with our Remote Management software, which allows administrators to have greater control over them. Two of the top features are geo- and time-fencing, meaning the drive can be used only within certain geographic or time parameters that an administrator can customize. For internal protection, SecureGuard USB is controlled with Remote Management and allows USB devices used on Windows-powered computers to be whitelisted or blacklisted. When an unauthorized device is inserted into a USB port, the computer locks until it is removed. Using Remote Management, an administrator can view a detailed access log to see what type of device was used and whether or not it was successful.

To start your complete security solution, contact a SecureDrive expert today at 1-424-363-8535.

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