Data breaches in healthcare rise by 22%

As many as 79% of UK healthcare providers in front-line services have experienced at least one data breach since 2021 – often caused by mistakes from members of their own staff.

According to research out today, there was a 22% year-over-year increase in data breaches in the last two years, with a 14% rise in accidental data leaks from employees. 

A half of healthcare organisations experienced a planned or accidental data leak from employees in the last year and 51% suffered a data breach from an outside source or DDoS attack. 

The research from a management solutions company – SOTI, The Technology Lifeline: Charting Digital Progress in Healthcare  – highlights the security and productivity challenges this is posing, 

Contributing to these data security challenges is the growing scale and diversification of device implementation across the healthcare sector. 

44% of IT professionals in healthcare reported an increase in the mix of devices – mobile devices, tablets, rugged devices and printers – used in their healthcare organisation in the past year. 33% of IT professionals also reported an increase in the use of personal devices to access company systems and networks.

Experts warn that the absence of direct management or monitoring by IT departments for any device used in the healthcare sector can pose significant data security risks.

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SOTI’s Stefan Spendrup said: ‘In the healthcare industry, data security is far more than protocol – it is fundamental to patient trust and system integrity. 

‘Our research last year found that 88% of IT healthcare professionals in the UK had concerns around patient information being compromised, but our new findings suggest that little progress has been made in addressing this. 

‘Device management is becoming more and more complex. It requires urgent attention and adequate investment in resources to mitigate potential vulnerabilities and protect sensitive healthcare data.’ 

The risks and inefficiencies posed by outdated or legacy systems in the healthcare sector were also noted by respondents. 37% of UK healthcare IT workers agreed that these devices and systems expose their networks to security attacks, with 35% claiming to spend too much time fixing issues with legacy IT.