Healthcare Cybersecurity Standards: How to Prepare

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) required hospital networks, clinics, and research institutes to meet strict healthcare cybersecurity standards. But complying with the new Strengthening American Cybersecurity Act may be a whole new level of challenge. 

The bill, enacted on March 15, takes a carrot and stick approach to security. It comprises three distinct acts. The Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2022 and the Federal Secure Cloud Improvement and Jobs Act of 2022 could be described as carrots. They encourage covered entities to be proactive in improving their resilience to attacks. The Cyber Incident Reporting for Critical Infrastructure Act of 2022 is more of a stick. It stipulates harsher sanctions for breach notifications.

The rule-making process, conducted by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA), is yet to begin in earnest. Accordingly, the extent of the law’s coverage is unclear. Currently only federal agencies and operators of critical infrastructure are definitely covered. However, the “Healthcare and Public Health Sector” is one of CISA’s 16 previously earmarked critical sectors. So the Strengthening American Cybersecurity Act will likely usher in new healthcare cybersecurity standards. The sooner they come, the better, given how the threat landscape is evolving.

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