06 Dec 2011

Data breaches in healthcare industry could cost as much as $6.5 billion

Healthcare is an industry with lots of sensitive data, so companies need to make sure they have the proper internet security and antivirus software systems set up so no important, private information is accessed by the wrong party. The Ponemon Institute found that data breaches in healthcare organizations increased by 32 percent in the last year, which could cost an average of $6.5 billion across the board.

"Healthcare data beaches are an epidemic," said Dr. Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute. "These problems are a direct result of our national economy. Healthcare organizations - especially not-for-profit hospitals and small clinics - have thin margins, are trimming staff and resources, and are lacking sufficient security and privacy budgets needed to adequately protect patients. I don't see this getting better anytime soon."

About 41 percent of the organizations surveyed said these breaches are caused by sloppy employee mistakes, and half of the respondents said they do nothing to protect the mobile devices used in 80 percent of hospitals.

Ponemon said most healthcare companies are either under-resourced or complacent. They may need to invest in new mobile security software to make sure they are protected from viruses, malware and hackers.