October is a beautiful month in Vermont, with all the amazing colors of fall. This time of year, most people think of pumpkins, the changing leaves, hot cider and Halloween. But there are other things October brings to mind. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and – for those of us who spend our days in the world of information security – October is also Cybersecurity Awareness Month.
Why, you may ask, does cybersecurity warrant this kind of attention?
First, what is cybersecurity? It can take many different forms, but basically cybersecurity is the state of being protected against the unauthorized or criminal use of electronic data. It covers everything from protecting personal, financial and credit card information, to patient health information. We have all seen the news about various companies having breaches involving credit card data or other hospitals experiencing a breach of patient data. Your own credit cards may have been affected by the Home Depot or Target breaches, or your tax identification may have been stolen. The point is: this type of activity isn’t going to stop, so we need to know how to keep our information safe.
Throughout this month, the UVM Health Network Information Security team will offer some tips to help you better protect electronic information, whether it’s your own or that of your patients, clients, or family.
We will also offer new tips to help protect you from threats, including tax fraud and computer hacking.
So, as you are choosing Halloween costumes or taking the family apple picking, please make time to read this information. It is, unfortunately, very likely that you will need it.
Heather Roszkowski is the Network Chief Information Security Officer at University of Vermont Health Network. Since joining the UVM Medical Center in 2012, Heather has created a network of secure information systems that protect both patient and employee data.