As the University of Vermont Health Network’s Cybersecurity Education Analyst, the most common question I hear is, “Why is cybersecurity such a big deal?”
To be honest, it’s a valid one. Unless you work in the information security industry on a daily basis, you may view cybersecurity as something that doesn’t immediately impact you. You use strong passwords, keep your phone locked, and are careful about what information you share online. As far as you’re concerned, your information is safe because you’ve taken the necessary precautions to keep it that way.
But what happens when you’re no longer controlling who accesses and uses your information?
Think about it:
When you visit a bank or a department store or a hospital, you share personal information with that organization. Credit card numbers, birthdates, maiden names, addresses, blood types – you willingly hand over all of this data to another organization to maintain. You do this because you expect them to lock it away and keep it safe, but do you actually know how they protect it from compromise?
The reality is that most of us…don’t.
National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
Occurs every year during the month of October, works to help us understand the benefits and importance of cybersecurity – both at home and at work. As part of NCSAM, the National Cyber Security Alliance created the Stop. Think. Connect.TM campaign to “help all digital citizens stay safer and more secure online.” One of the many things the campaign does is ask us to create a culture at work where we’re all responsible for respecting privacy, safeguarding data, and enabling trust.
At the Health Network, cybersecurity plays a large part in patient safety and every single one of us works as a security advocate. To create this culture of privacy and security, we take the following actions when it comes to our patients’ data:
- If we collect it, then we have to protect it.
- Be open and honest about how we collect, use, and share personal information.
- Use any method available to educate our patients about our privacy practices.
- Create a culture of privacy throughout the Health Network and its affiliates.
- Review and monitor the privacy policies of our partners and vendors.
Want to learn more?
Visit the Stop. Think. Connect.TM Tips & Advice webpage for additional information on how to keep your information safe, both at work and at home. Information on the 2018 themes for National Cybersecurity Awareness Month are available via the NCSAM main website.
Meghan Hunt, Cybersecurity Education Analyst for The University of Vermont Health Network