With more private and sensitive information being stored digitally than ever before, cybersecurity is an increasingly important consideration for individuals and businesses alike. Unfortunately, cyberattacks from hackers and other cybercriminals looking to steal such information for their nefarious purposes are only becoming more common over time.
Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFEs) are not immune from such attacks, and the consequences for their operations can be absolutely devastating. In fact, RCFE owners and administrators face a unique challenge when it comes to cybersecurity as they can also be targeted by disgruntled employees looking to cause the facilities harm. If you own or operate an RCFE, it is therefore critical to learn how to adequately protect your facility from hacking, ransomware attacks, and other kinds of cybersecurity threats. Here are some valuable tips on steps to take:
1. Ensure that All Software is Up To Date
All software (programs) used at your facility need to be consistently updated to the latest versions available. Having outdated software leaves you susceptible to cyberattacks as hackers are adept at exploiting vulnerabilities to gain unauthorized access. As many software updates include security patches to safeguard against such attacks, it is vital to either enable auto updates or otherwise be vigilant in manually installing updates when available. This includes operating systems (i.e. Windows and macOS), web browsers, your website, and any applications used.
2. Protect Yourself with Strong Passwords
Another way to safeguard your facility from cyberattacks is by setting passwords that are hard to guess and use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters when possible. While relying on simple, easy to remember passwords like “password” or “123456” may seem convenient, keep in mind that doing so would also prove convenient to anyone trying to hack in.
3. Install a Firewall
Firewalls are virtual security systems that can help protect your RCFE from unauthorized access. Robust firewalls can help prevent cyberattacks from happening in the first place, providing you with added peace of mind that your facility is cybersecure.
4. Make Backups of Your Data
In the unfortunate event that your RCFE does fall victim to a cyberattack, it is tremendously important to have a solid backup plan in place. Losing your digital files and records could be absolutely disastrous and significantly hinder operations. As such, you should routinely back up all of your facility’s data so that it can be swiftly restored post-attack if necessary.
5. Educate All Staff Members
Take the time to ensure that your RCFE staff is fully aware of the dangers of cyberattacks as well as what they can do to help protect the facility. This includes teaching them how to spot phishing emails (emails that hackers use to trick people into providing data or other information), how to keep software updated, how to understand antivirus software, and how to create effective passwords.
6. Hire a Reputable IT/Cybersecurity Company or In-House Specialist
With so much to take care of at your RCFE on a daily basis, having to worry about cybersecurity can feel overwhelming. That is why it may be worthwhile to hire an experienced Information Technology (IT) or cybersecurity company to manage that all for you. You could also think about hiring a cybersecurity specialist to work in-house full time at your facility.
Contact InsureMyRCFE for All of Your RCFE Insurance Needs
We hope that the above tips will prove useful for you in keeping your RCFE protected from cybersecurity attacks. If you would like additional information, don’t hesitate to contact us here at InsureMyRCFE. We are a leading provider of insurance policies for RCFEs in California and some surrounding states. To speak with one of our representatives, please give us a call today at (805) 413-5668.