Senior living centers across the United States increasingly rely on computer-based technologies both for resident care as well as connectivity between residents, caregivers, and their loved ones. With these technologies comes an increased risk of cyber criminality, however. Senior living cyber liabilities, including the liabilities faced by nursing homes and assisted living facilities, represent an expensive and potentially harmful set of factors that can negatively impact the financial security of facilities and their residents. Mitigating those cyber risks is imperative. Here’s how forward-facing senior centers are addressing cyber risks, further reinforcing safe living accommodations for America’s aging population.
Computer Technologies in Senior Care Facilities
To gain a better understanding of senior living cyber liabilities, it can be valuable to cover some of the computer-based technologies used in senior centers. These technologies are used for healthcare delivery and safety as well as helping residents connect to the world outside. Technologies include:
- Telemedicine systems
- Electronic health records, including onsite storage and inter-facility sharing of patient records
- Office productivity and networking systems
- Resident WiFi systems
- Facility monitoring and security systems (cameras, remote monitoring, door alarms, and access devices)
As technologies are added to facilities, each represents a potential intrusion point for cyber criminals. Especially alarming for these facilities is that they are increasingly being targeted by criminals; in fact, in 2018 alone, over $1.8 billion in losses from cyber criminality was reported by LeadingAge, a prominent senior advocacy organization.
Targeting Senior Centers: Lucrative Data for Cyber Criminals
Why are senior centers so popular with cyber criminals? There are several factors that make these facilities targets. First, many resident records include personally-identifying information, including Social Security numbers and banking details. With access to this data, criminals can create fraudulent financial accounts and steal millions, if not billions, of dollars. Second, senior care centers tend to lag behind in terms of robust anti-intrusion software and computer hardware, making them easier targets. Finally, seniors may not be as tech-savvy as others, making them susceptible to phishing or email spoofing attacks.
Putting a Stop to Cyber Criminals in Senior Care Centers
As technology is adopted, senior living cyber liabilities become a critical aspect that can influence the personal and financial security of residents and facility staff members. Healthcare records are a lucrative target for criminals, and a single data breach could result in the loss of hundreds or even thousands of patient records. To prevent the financial impacts of cyber crime, senior care centers need to implement security measures in addition to ensuring robust cyber liability insurance coverage. Combatting cyber criminality includes steps like:
- Providing guidance and education to seniors in how to identify spoof emails and to protect passwords.
- Separating facility networks from resident networks.
- Adhering to federal regulatory requirements like HIPAA by adopting end-to-end encryption for the transmission of sensitive patient records.
- Regular monitoring of facility networks for evidence of intrusion or unlawful behaviors.
- Updating security software and firmware regularly.
- Utilizing third-party cybersecurity services to help protect facilities from expensive cyber threats.
Finally, healthcare facilities like nursing homes and senior centers need to review existing insurance coverages. Senior living cyber liabilities can result in the loss of sensitive patient and healthcare data and may potentially costs hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in recovery. Cyber liability insurance helps provide protection against those expenses, keeping facility finances safe while reinforcing business continuity. Cyber threats are on the rise, and senior care centers are finally taking these threats seriously. With the right insurance coverages, and with an eye toward robust network security practices, resident and facility records gain valuable protections.
About Caitlin Morgan
Caitlin Morgan specializes in insuring assisted living facilities and nursing homes and can assist you in providing insurance and risk management services for this niche market. Give us a call to learn more about our programs at (877) 226-1027.