The University of Chicago Medical Center suffered a major and potentially catastrophic data breach when a former employee at Med-Data, a national healthcare data processor based in Ohio, uploaded private patient information to the public internet. This meant that at least 900 University of Chicago Medical Center patients had sensitive information, including their social security number, birth dates, healthcare details, and home addresses available for the world to find and use.
Although the breach actually occurred in 2019, it has only recently come to light this year.
Med-Data issued a statement in February saying that, as far as they know, none of this information has been used for illegal or nefarious means, and they have taken quick steps to fix the breach and secure the data. However, it could be that the damage is already done, and even if no actual harm occurred (which may not be evident for some time yet), the trust that clients have in this company will most certainly have suffered.
Once they noticed the breach, Med-Data acted immediately, sending a letter to any individual affected. They have also offered a year’s free credit monitoring and identity theft protection to each of them. As yet, we don’t know if the ex-employee will have charges pressed against them.
Cybersecurity Is Crucial
If this story about the data breach at Med-Data has taught us anything, it’s that having cybersecurity measures in place, no matter the type or size of an organization, is crucial. Schools, hospitals, e-commerce stores, and every other type of business imaginable should be prioritizing keeping IT systems secure to avoid suffering a similar cyber incident.
Once a breach occurs, trust in a company is easily and quickly lost. The hard-earned reputation you have spent so long building up, the one that helps you find more customers, can disappear in an instant, and trying to get it back is a long-winded and sometimes impossible task.
On top of this, the damage can be devastating. If a cybercriminal or hacker were to enter your IT network and steal sensitive data, you could lose money, you could lose vital customer files, you could lose anything and everything that allows you to run your business.
What Can Be Done?
It’s clear that something needs to be done to ensure to reduce the risk of or entirely prevent vulnerabilities that can cause data breaches. There are various different options such as training your staff well so they understand the importance of cybersecurity, and installing firewalls and antivirus software.
Perhaps the best thing businesses can do is work with a professional IT services provider. Local businesses can let the experts in Chicago IT services deal with network security, employee awareness training, installing firewalls and updates, and every other aspect of business cybersecurity.
Although businesses should do everything possible to protect themselves, often the best way to implement cybersecurity and prevent data breaches is to get experts on the case.