Security risks in the healthcare sector. Managed.
Updated: Sep 23
From a growing incidence of occupational violence and aggression to a spate of cyberattacks, the healthcare sector has become increasingly exposed to security-related operational, financial, and reputational risks. Optic Security Group Managing Director Mark Lloyd highlights key mitigation strategies to address this.
The healthcare sector faces unprecedented levels of exposure to security risk, with COVID triggering record numbers of cyber incidents targeted at the sector, and healthcare workers across the sectors becoming particularly vulnerable to incidents of workplace violence. It’s a sad irony given the critical work the sector does in saving lives and caring for us.
Indeed, it’s the critical nature of healthcare that makes it so vulnerable to both physical and digital security breaches. On the one hand, hospitals and healthcare facilities tend to house equipment, stores, restricted medications, and personal information that are attractive to malicious actors. On the other, patients and visitors often present at these facilities in agitated states, at all hours, and in challenging circumstances, heightening the likelihood of violence.
It’s the job of effective security to protect a healthcare facility so that it can continue to provide its critical services free from disruption, theft, and harm. Based on Optic Security Group’s extensive experience as a trusted partner to a wide range of health and aged care facilities, we see three aspects of security risk management as particularly important in this sector:
· Rapid response and support
· Visitor management and staff safety
· Cyber security and data protection
Rapid response and support
The importance of speed in response to an emergency is perhaps better understood in healthcare than anywhere else.
Fit-for-purpose and reliable security controls such as CCTV, access control, intercoms, and intruder detection systems are critical for ensuring rapid responses by security personnel to alarms and incidents. Ensuring that your systems are well designed and maintained, and that your monitoring and servicing provider delivers around-the-clock support for when you need it the most, is crucial.
24/7 operations require security systems that are ‘always on’ and ‘always reliable’. Unscheduled downtime due to breakdowns leaves your operations and people exposed. As the old saying goes, “prevention is better than cure” – we are skilled in predictive and preventative maintenance support.
Visitor management and staff safety
Often the first clinical point of contact for patients, nurses & care staff are particularly vulnerable to violence by patients and visitors. In addition to public messaging and other forms of deterrence, duress systems can facilitate a quick security presence.
Additionally, Visitor Management Systems are fast becoming important tools for keeping track of people onsite, particularly for the purposes of COVID contract tracing, Health & Safety, and remote worker security solutions are becoming a key support tool for staff engaging with patients off-site. In the aged care environment, personal safety devices provide a safety net for residents living with conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Cyber security and data protection
In its 2020 Health Sector Snapshot, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) reported that cybersecurity incidents relating to the Australian healthcare sector increased by 90% in 2020 compared to 2019.
Outside of government and individuals, the health sector reported the highest number of cybercrime incidents, and ransomware attacks have paralysed hospitals on both sides of the Tasman over the last 12 months. Ensure your security plans, policies and controls are aimed at providing holistic resilience against security threats – physical, digital, and human – and ensure your security provider can advise on all of these.
A Trusted Health Sector Partner
In addition to hospitals across Australia & New Zealand, Optic Security Group has been trusted to design, install and service integrated security risk management solutions in a range of specialised areas, including mental health and aged care facilities. Our fully trained technicians understand the specificities of working in specialised health contexts, and they are skilled in the design and deployment of security systems and solutions that are fit-for-purpose.
We have deep channel partnerships with vendors trusted by hospitals and healthcare providers across Australasia for industry leading security, safety, communications, and incident response systems. This enables us to continuously update our offerings based on market trends and the latest technological innovations, and to do so at the most competitive prices possible.
If you’re in healthcare, aged care or well being and would like to discuss how to optimise the management of your organisation’s security-related risks, please reach out to me at email@example.com. or via our contacts page on the website.