Healthcare cybersecurity awareness training is an essential part of HIPAA compliance. The HIPAA Security Rule calls for all HIPAA-regulated entities to “Implement a security awareness and training program for all members of its workforce (including management).” The HIPAA Security Rule implies that security awareness training should be ongoing, and the HHS’ Office for Civil Rights has confirmed this in its cybersecurity newsletters and guidance.

What the HIPAA Security Rule does not specify is the content of training courses. This stands to reason, as the speed at which technology is advancing far outpaces legislative processes. Any specific training requirements would quickly become dated. Instead, it is left to the discretion of each HIPAA-regulated entity what healthcare cybersecurity awareness training should entail, and that should be guided by a risk analysis.

The provision of healthcare cybersecurity awareness training should not be viewed as a checkbox item to ensure HIPAA compliance and avoid a financial penalty from the HHS’ Office for Civil Rights. Training really does make a difference and can greatly improve resilience to cyberattacks. The Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report for 2022 indicates 4 out of 5 data breaches in 2021 involved the human element – mistakes by employees that provided hackers with a foothold in the network or exposed sensitive data to unauthorized individuals. Healthcare cybersecurity awareness training will not prevent all of those breaches, but it will go a long way toward improving awareness of risks and eradicating risky behaviors.

Security awareness training should cover cybersecurity basics, from the importance of not remaining logged in when leaving a computer unattended to setting strong passwords, and the risks of unauthorized app installations, emails, and Internet risks. Employees should be made aware of the extent to which they are being targeted and the consequences of cyberattacks and data breaches, making sure that everyone understands that cybersecurity is a patient safety issue.

Healthcare cybersecurity awareness training also needs to cover the specific threats that employees are likely to encounter, with phishing one of the most vital components since it is one of the most common ways that cybercriminals gain access to healthcare networks. Training modules are important for teaching the theory, but when it comes to phishing, employees need to be given practice at recognizing phishing attempts, and the easiest way to do that is through phishing simulations.

Phishing simulations are not about catching employees out, they should be conducted as part of the training process to give employees practice at recognizing phishing and should include a range of difficulties. Simulations also help the IT department to discover the types of emails that are fooling employees. When employees are tricked by simulations, they can be provided with a short refresher training module that explains how the email could have been recognized as malicious. The next time that type of email is received, there will be a much better chance it will be identified and avoided. Providing on-the-spot training in response to these failures is vital, as that is the moment when the training is likely to be most effective.

TitanHQ’s SafeTitan platform is a comprehensive training platform covering all aspects of security that is delivered through computer-based training sessions. The modules take no longer than 10 minutes each to maximize knowledge retention, and modules can be chosen for individuals, groups, and departments to ensure the training is relevant to each individual’s role. The platform includes behavior-driven training in response to security mistakes, with content automatically generated when mistakes for real-time intervention training. The training content includes training sessions, videos, and quizzes and has been developed to be enjoyable and entertaining, as well as informative, and the content is regularly updated to incorporate emerging threats.

You will not be able to develop a security culture overnight, but through ongoing training and regular phishing simulations, security awareness of the workforce will improve. Training data from the SafeTitan platform and the phishing simulator show organization can reduce susceptibility to phishing by up to 92% through regular training.

For more information on the SafeTitan platform, for a product demonstration or to sign up for a free trial, contact the TitanHQ team today.