Incidents of data breaches and cybersecurity vulnerabilities have become a growing threat to the healthcare industry. Whereas the industry has widely adopted technology, it has lagged in protecting key stakeholders- patients. A Herjavec Group-sponsored 2020 Healthcare Cybersecurity Report revealed that 93% of healthcare organizations had been victims of data breaches over the past three years. The 2020 IBM Cost of Data Breach Investigation report also shows that cost of data breaches on medical websites has continued to rise over the years, as shown in the graph below. Healthcare organizations should invest considerable resources and efforts in protecting their systems, assets, and patients from data threats. But this is easier said than done. The healthcare industry is extraordinarily technology-saturated, with high endpoint complexities, making it hard for less-skilled cybersecurity professionals to handle the threats targeting healthcare portals and all resources held therein. An SSL Certificate-
The healthcare industry’s competitiveness is a perfect explanation of why healthcare websites have become lucrative targets to hackers. Fraud and data breaches have become the norm in the healthcare industry, and stakeholders are rushing to try and find viable and reliable solutions to curb this menace. The SSL Certificate is one of the vital tools that has been significant in the security of healthcare websites. So, if you are planning to secure your healthcare portal, why not buy an SSL certificate?
What is an SSL Certificate?
Safe access to website contents and secured interaction with Web applications are two major emerging issues in the internet context. The HTTP is a plain-text transmission protocol. HTTP blends with SSL certificates to give rise to the HTTPS protocol, a secure data transfer protocol because of its use of ciphertext in the transfer of data.
Netscape originally developed a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate to allow safe access of web browsers to web servers. It has evolved to become the acceptable standard of web security. The primary role of SSL certificates is to provide the utmost web traffic security. There are three major security elements that the SSL certificate is set to achieve. They are; data integrity, authentication, and message confidentiality.
Because your healthcare portal holds data so dear to you and your clients, it needs an SSL certificate. Special organizations referred to as certificate authorities are the ones that provide SSL certificates. Some of the notable names on the SSL market include Comodo Positive SSL and AlphaSSL certificates. SSL certs come in different types and at varying validation levels, and choosing the right one may seem like a tough decision to make. We suggest investing in wildcard certificates because, with this single certificate, you can afford premium encryption to multiple first-level subdomains such as payment portal, appointment schedules, doctor availability etc., under the main domain. It is a cost-effective option, which eliminates the hassle of maintaining multiple single-domain SSL certs for each new subdomain that you add!
Please note that the SSL certificate does more than just security for your healthcare portal. There are many more reasons why you need an SSL certificate. In the next segment, we will learn more about why you need an SSL certificate for your healthcare portal, starting with the most obvious- Security!
Reasons You Need An SSL Certificate For Your Healthcare Portal
To Secure Your Healthcare Data Against Breaches
According to IBM’s X-Force Threat Intelligence Index, the healthcare industry emerged as one of the most affected industries in the pre-pandemic era as far as cybersecurity is concerned. The increasing breaches and data leaks witnessed in the healthcare industry should be a wake-up call for all stakeholders to stand up and protect all healthcare assets against eavesdroppers, data thieves, and all those with malicious intentions.
The first step towards securing your healthcare portal is by making the HTTP-HTTPS migration. It is only possible by installing an SSL certificate on the webservers hosting your medical website. The SSL certificate is essential because it secures all sensitive data from eavesdroppers and credential thefts. But how does a small data file such as an SSL certificate achieve all these?
As mentioned earlier, an SSL certificate works by encryption. Encryption ensures safe data transfers between web servers and clients’ browsers. Instead of data being transferred in plain text, it will be transmitted via a ciphertext. Interceptors who successfully intercept the communication will find it impossible to decipher the meaning of the information.
Bolster Patients Trust
The internet is a hostile place. Barely a day passes without hearing of internet scams that, more often than not, leave the victims with devastating effects. Internet users do not know who to trust. They have become wary and will rather spend their time researching a particular website than heading directly into the perilous jaws of scammers. The case is similar to healthcare websites. Your clients will be more than cautious and will turn away from your website whenever they notice anything fishy with your website.
One of the vital things that your website visitors will be looking at is the URL of your website. Website visitors have been known to trust HTTPS websites more than HTTP websites, and perhaps this explains why most pages on Google Chrome are served via the HTTPS protocol. The SSL certificate element has therefore been handy in building user trust. You want your clients to share their sensitive information, health records, among other vital details, without fear. This is the reason why you need an SSL certificate to build that confidence and trust.
Increase Visibility in Search Engines
Google has been paying considerable attention to user security. It has made user privacy one of its top priorities. To ensure that websites adhere to security guidelines, Google set to ensure that all websites had the required security tools that would help protect users from website vulnerabilities.
Google and other search engines are now using the HTTPS factor in ranking websites. The HTTPS factor is now also used as a tie-breaker when two or more websites have equaled in all the other ranking factors. You want your healthcare website to rank higher than its competitors in the search engine results pages. What is the point of having a medical website that your target clients cannot find? You need an SSL certificate to achieve visibility in search engines.
Legal Compliance Purposes
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) requires that you adhere to specific regulations when dealing with health data that has been protected electronically. The Privacy rule is one of the most popular regulations that HIPAA has set up.
It was laid in place to ensure that all patients’ data is kept safe, secure, and out of reach by hackers and that patients’ privacy is upheld to the latter. The HIPAA act also requires that you have sufficient security mechanisms to safeguard patients’ data against data leakages. Installing an SSL certificate on your healthcare portal is one of the key ways to adhere to HIPAA rules. The Extended Validation is the most recommended SSL type that you should consider working with. Failing to adhere to such regulations will only attract hefty penalties.
Ensure Secure Payments
Last but not least, you need an SSL certificate to ensure secure payments. If you wish to make and receive payments via your healthcare portal, you should buy and install an SSL certificate. An SSL certificate ensures the safety of online transactions, and this is why you will need to have a merchant account that requires an SSL certificate to operate efficiently. For instance, the SSL certificates will safeguard all debit card and credit card details belonging to you or your clients. It will also go a long way to ensuring that all online transactions are safe.
Cybercriminals have now shifted their attention to the healthcare industry. If you have a medical website, you are not safe. Do not feel threatened. It is the truth. This is a wake-up call for you to rise and put proper measures that will help mitigate the menace of healthcare data breaches. The SSL certificate has been instrumental in the security of healthcare websites, which is why I highly advocate for it. It will not only provide utmost data security but will also help to boost customer trust, increase your websites’ visibility in search engines, help with regulation compliance, and safeguard all transactions.