Ransomware is a hot topic in the health care world. IT teams want to know how to avoid getting ransomware and how to coordinate a ransomware incident response. Read on to learn more about ransomware and how hosted solutions can protect health care companies and their data.

What Is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malware that infects computers, much as viruses do. But rather than deleting or corrupting files like viruses, ransomware renders files inaccessible.

When ransomware hits, the affected computer is unusable and its data unavailable. Ransomware incident response is usually straightforward: IT departments shut down the network so the malware can’t propagate, and the company pays an amount of money to the hackers who are responsible. Even then, there’s no guarantee that the data will be unlocked.

How Has Ransomware Affected the Health Care Industry?

Health care companies are a major target for ransomware attacks, and it’s projected that that trend will only continue. Health care organizations typically have large networks of computers, and an attack that strikes one computer can spread like wildfire through the network.

But it gets worse. While ransomware is primarily an extortion technique, some experts warn that it may compromise data as well. That means confidential personal health care information may be making its way back to hackers, which constitutes a HIPAA violation.

Many companies have aimed to prevent ransomware attacks by backing up data regularly and educating employees about the danger of opening suspicious files. But ransomware attacks are becoming more frequent, and many companies are paying out thousands of dollars in ransoms.

Ransomware and Hosted EHR Solutions

Hosted EHR solutions like GE Centricity circumvent many of the problems companies experience with ransomware. Rather than focusing on how to avoid getting ransomware, the Centricity Practice Solution deals with the problem at its source.

Ransomware only locks down data on the affected computer. With cloud solutions such as GE Centricity hosting, there’s no data stored locally. If a ransomware attack hits, no confidential data is held for ransom or compromised.

The best way to avoid getting ransomware is to take preventative action. GE Centricity hosting keeps a company’s data away from hackers. Even if a ransomware attack hits, health care companies know critical data is protected.