In an ideal technology environment, you wouldn’t even notice that security is working. Employees and residents would be able to access the applications and data they need, and complete whatever online tasks they like. But as with any system, technology isn’t perfect, and some gaps can come up that turn a once-secure setup into a potential threat.
Fortunately, there are indications that can come up when data security is threatened. Paying attention to these can help any organization put better security controls into place and keep both users and data safe.
Here are three signs that your senior living data security may need a major refresh:
1. One or more residents is hit by identity theft
Identity theft can come from numerous sources outside your senior care community — including retail transactions, taxes, and even friends and family of residents. But when these incidents occur, it’s important to trace the attack back to make sure it didn’t come as a result of your system.
For example, a senior may have clicked on a malicious link in a phishing email that should have been blocked by a spam filter, or they could have navigated to a hacker site accidentally if you don’t have controls in place to recognize those types of sites. Encourage your residents to report identity theft incidents, and always do an internal investigation to see if your data security practices are lacking in any way.
2. Your network is much slower than it used to be
There are often network bottlenecks that come as a result of heavy usage times (although a technology assessment and network administration can help prevent those), but if it seems like everything is taking longer to load, it could definitely be a sign that a hacker is targeting your data.
Attackers can siphon data off a system by running several processes in the background of a network. These can be cleverly hidden, but they still take network resources to run. So, if a network slows down without warning, you should make sure that this type of incident isn’t occurring, and that data isn’t being removed from the system.
3. You see unexpected log messages or users
Your system logs activity, which is useful for detecting problems like network intrusion and unauthorized access attempts. It’s a good practice to go through these logs on a regular basis — some large companies make this into a full-time position — to see if any unexpected activity is happening.
Similarly, be sure to make it a habit to look through the database of users. At a senior care organization that has a constant influx of residents, this can be tricky, but it’s worth the time. Seeing activity or users who are unfamiliar can be a big sign that something may be threatening your data security.
Any signs of a more porous system can be alarming. But those gaps and holes can often be blocked, with the right mix of best practices, managed services, and hardware and software tools. Consider bringing in experts for an assessment of your technology setup, to help create a more secure data security program.