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                Research & Intelligence

                The Universe of Healthcare Data Breaches: Visualizing the Story of Risk

                By: Secureworks

                At Dell SecureWorks, we're always trying to stay abreast of what security risks are lurking in the shadows out there, waiting to pounce on vulnerable organizations.

                2012 has seen a clearer picture come to light surrounding the healthcare security microcosm. The astronomer Carl Sagan wrote about our understanding of the universe that "Long ago, when an early galaxy began to pour light out into the surrounding darkness, no witness could have known that billions of years later some remote clumps of rock and metal, ice and organic molecules would fall together to make a place called Earth."

                And so it is with healthcare data security (albeit on a much smaller scale). As a new infographic produced by Dell SecureWorks demonstrates, the risk environment in which healthcare organizations now find themselves, is, well, a bit like discovering that ours is not the only galaxy out there. At one time (circa 1996 when HIPAA compliance was enacted) little could have been known about the data security risks of commonplace smartphone and tablet use, the myriad variants of malware that have proliferated, the fact that a single USB drive can store tens of thousands of individual patient records, or the fact that HIPAA fines would actually come to fruition. But as the infographic shows, this is the reality of our circumstances.

                Like galaxies that will eventually collide and change the shape and structure of the universe, data security risks will compound upon themselves over the coming decades to create an imperative that is at best difficult to forecast based on our current state of affairs. The good news is that time is on healthcare organizations' sides to prevent these collisions, metaphorically speaking. As a recent InformationWeek article notes, through encryption, basic preparation, security risk assessment, and closing security gaps, healthcare organizations can reduce or eliminate much of their nascent risk.

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