An industry infamous for thick red tape has surprisingly few regulations when it comes to web hosting. That might change in the (distant) future, but for now the medical field has other things to worry about besides online security. Even though many medical facilities are going paperless, counting on the cloud to store confidential medical information, the security measures haven’t caught up yet. All it takes is one big security breach or a patient’s file getting into the wrong hands, and your facility might be slapped with a lawsuit so big it’ll topple your business.
Medical records are some of the most sensitive documents in existence. Not only do these records often contain the usual biggies like names, social security numbers, addresses, and even credit card information, they also (obviously) have medical information. A person’s HIV status, for example, can cause big waves in all parts of their life. It’s not something they want shared willy-nilly, and yet hackers can relatively easily break into many healthcare online records.
Just like in other aspects of medicine, practicing preventative measures is key. The vast majority of medical facilities rely on basic shared hosting plans. These are often free or very low cost, and have minimal security measures in place. This type of hosting should really only be used for personal blogs and other sites with no sensitive data. The biggest healthcare companies might have a dedicated server, but that’s way too costly for most.
The obvious answer is using virtual private server/VPS hosting. It gives you much more security and—as a bonus—faster speeds. Nothing is more frustrating for a patient or provider than getting stuck with a slow site when all they want to do is schedule an appointment. Better speeds and increased security should both be pillars in a medical website. It’s yours for the taking with VPS hosting, which acts like dedicated hosting but costs the same as basic shared plans.
What’s the Catch?
There’s absolutely no catch at all! For several years, VPS was expensive because the technology was still evolving. It’s just been in recent years that it’s matched price points with basic shared plans. You’re basically sharing a physical server with others, just like with basic hosting, but that server is then divided into individual virtual servers that act like a dedicated server. That’s how you get faster speeds (nobody’s hogging them) and better security.
If you look at the statistics, hackers target smaller sites because they’re easier prey. Some cybercriminals are actively trying to steal identities, others have a personal vengeance against someone (again, a big reason you don’t want medical records leaked), and other hackers are just wanting to show what they’re capable of. No matter the motive, you don’t want your information along with your patient’s information getting mixed up in a hacker’s scheme. Hackers, unless they have a personal vendetta, are largely opportunists. They’ll move on to an easier target if you give them too much of a challenge.