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How secure are your care records against potential security threats?

You would have seen in the news recently that aged care providers are again amongst those businesses being targeted by ransomware attacks.

All industries are potential ransomware targets and falling victim to an attack means staff are unable to access the information that is essential to performing their regular business operations. This information can also be stolen and copied for distribution. The critical difference in aged care is that business ‘as usual’ operations involve providing safe, high quality care to vulnerable older people.

Aged care is time critical by nature. The ability to constantly access to and update records is essential to ensuring safety and quality of care. In a systems outage, resident health, safety and quality of care are on the line. If staff are unable to access or update care records, they are unable to deliver time critical medications, ensure the continuity of the resident’s daily routine or deliver personalised care to each resident.

Ransomware attacks are not the only potential threat to your care records. Network outages, network failures and natural disasters can wreak havoc on your organisation’s ability to access your care management system.

The fires that occurred across Australia earlier this year required many evacuations from aged care facilities. Facilities with care systems that provide business continuity were able to pick up their devices and go, accessing care records offline and at temporary evacuation locations, to provide continuity of care to residents.

In the event of any of these scenarios, you need to know that you will be able to enter and access information until you’re back online and everything is restored.

But it isn’t all doom and gloom. Taking a few preventative measures can help protect your organisation in the event that one of these scenarios does occur.

How can you ensure your organisation and care records are safe? 

  • Ask your current care management system provider what safeguards are in place to protect your care records in an attack, outage or network failure
  • Change passwords on all devices used to access your care management system frequently 
  • Remind staff frequently that emails from unknown senders should not be opened and should be deleted immediately 
  • Ensure firewalls are in place • Allow Windows to perform updates when you are prompted (these often contain new security updates and patches) 
  • Have a business continuity plan and review this regularly – discuss this with your internal IT team or your IT consultants
  • Enlist the help of a care management system provider like AutumnCare, one that can provide you with offline mode and complete recovery capabilities in the event that something does go wrong

Browser based systems don’t allow you the freedom and peace of mind to work completely uninterrupted offline. Systems like AutumnCare offer completely functional offline mode, allowing end users to continue accessing and entering information as usual during an outage, ensuring care is not interrupted.

“The right care management system should guarantee you the uninterrupted, continuous ability to deliver care in the event of an outage, so you are able to provide safety and quality of care to all residents.”

Visit our website to download our white paper on business continuity and disaster recovery.