Why Two Factor Authentication is Critical for Safeguarding Patient Data
For medical practices and other professional practices the risk of data breaches and fraud is high, so taking all the necessary steps to protect your patient’s or client’s sensitive data is a must.
Unfortunately for many practitioners the decision to increase their company’s data protection comes too late – after they’ve been victimized by a malicious hacker.
The good news is, simple and inexpensive steps can be taken to avoid being hacked. According to a recent study, 80% of data breaches could be prevented if users simply implemented two-factor authentication.
In this article you’ll learn how Two Factor Authentication (2FA) works, as well as the pros and cons of using it to secure your company’s digital data.
Make Sure You have Evaluated Your Data Security and at a Minimum:
- Educate your staff
- Create a policy and check to make sure it is followed
- Work with your IT professional to enable encryption and firewalls
- Double check that files are correctly stored
- Properly dispose of paper files and notes
- Keep anything with patient information out of the public’s eye
Is this enough?
Cybercrime is on the rise, and the vast majority of hacking-related data breaches involve weak procedures and unwitting employees, malicious emails and ransomware.
Unfortunately, if someone has access to – or finds a way to decode – an encrypted password, without another layer of security it’s all too easy to access a vulnerable account.
Two-factor authentication prevents data security breaches by requiring users to enter more than a username and password to sign into an account. Once the first password has been entered, a second, time-sensitive verification code is sent to another device for the user to unlock access.
The second factor typically takes the form of an auto-generated code, an OTP (one time password), or a biometric verification on a device (such as a fingerprint).2FA apps are your best bet
Authenticator apps like Microsoft Authenticator are free, user-friendly options designed to increase data security across your devices.
With Microsoft Authenticator you get the benefits of two-factor authentication without the need for a password. Instead, you sign in securely using your phone and a PIN, fingerprint, or facial recognition. You can choose to use a password to sign in, and the app will create a new verification code that refreshes every 30 seconds.
The limitations of two-factor authentication
Although 2FA does make it considerably more difficult for a cybercriminal to hack your data, there are instances where your sensitive info can become vulnerable (if, for instance, someone were to steal your smartphone and hijack your SIM).
A smart hacker who knows your phone number can easily slip past the second authentication barrier by redirecting 2FA notifications to their own devices and entering the verification code to access your accounts.
An additional security barrier is recommended for any office server or website that saves your patients or clients sensitive personal or company data – bank websites, accounting software, cloud storage, calendar, communication apps, social media networks, password managers, and email accounts.
Contact your IT professional and your software providers for other recommendations. And don’t overlook Google Advanced Protection – a more complex security system designed to lock down your data, heralded by Wire magazine as currently the most secure authentication protection for any online software.
Looking to improve other processes in your medical practice?
Contact us to find out how we can help you reach your business and financial goals.