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How The Cloud Increases Cyber Risks To Your Veterinary Hospital

By January 23, 2023February 16th, 2024No Comments

In today’s digital age, Software as a Service (SAAS) has become increasingly popular among veterinary practices as a way to streamline operations and improve efficiency. However, as more and more sensitive information is stored on these cloud-based platforms, the risk of cyber-attacks and data breaches has also risen. In fact, a recent study by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) found that nearly one-third of veterinary practices have experienced a cyber attack in the past year.

This growing threat is not just limited to large or well-established practices, but small and medium-sized practices are also at risk. Hackers are using increasingly sophisticated methods to gain access to sensitive information, and many practices may not have the necessary protections in place. This article will explore the various ways in which SAAS can also be a cybersecurity threat to veterinary practices and provide tips on how to protect your practice from these threats. Below are the top 5 SaaS cybersecurity threats and risks veterinary practices should be wary of:

1. Misconfigurations of Cloud Environments

As more and more veterinary practices adopt Software as a Service (SAAS) and move their operations to the cloud, it is important to be aware of the potential risks associated with misconfigurations of cloud environments. Misconfigurations can occur when settings or permissions within a cloud environment are not properly configured, which can lead to data breaches and unauthorized access to sensitive information.

One common misconfiguration is leaving data storage and backups publicly accessible. This can allow hackers to easily access and steal sensitive information such as patient records and financial data. Additionally, misconfigurations in access controls can also lead to unauthorized access to the cloud environment. This means that hackers can gain access to the cloud environment and steal or delete data or even launch attacks on other systems connected to the cloud environment.

Another risk associated with misconfigurations is the lack of proper monitoring and logging. Without adequate logging and monitoring, it can be difficult to detect and respond to security incidents, making it even harder to protect the practice from a cyber attack.

To avoid the risks arising from misconfigured cloud environments, veterinary practices should ensure periodic external network monitoring is carried out frequently. A pentest of cloud infrastructure can also help address problems with misconfigured cloud environments such as S3 buckets and permissive firewalls within VPCs and other cloud services and accounts.

2. Ransomware

Ransomware is one of the most significant cybersecurity threats facing veterinary practices today. This type of malware infects a computer or network and encrypts the files, making them inaccessible to the user. The hacker then demands a ransom, usually in the form of cryptocurrency, in exchange for the decryption key.

In a veterinary practice where sensitive patient and client information is stored, a ransomware attack can have devastating consequences. If patient records, billing information, and other sensitive data are encrypted, the practice may not be able to function until the ransom is paid. Additionally, a ransomware attack can result in a loss of trust from clients and damage to the practice’s reputation.

Veterinary practices that use Software as a Service (SAAS) are particularly vulnerable to ransomware attacks, as their sensitive information is stored on a third-party server. If the SAAS provider’s security measures are not sufficient, a hacker may be able to gain access to the server and infect it with ransomware. This not only puts the practice’s data at risk but also the data of other practices using the same SAAS provider.

To address the problem of ransomware attacks on veterinary practices using SaaS, it’s essential for practices to be proactive in protecting their sensitive information. This includes regular backups of data, robust security measures such as firewalls and antivirus software, and employee education on cybersecurity best practices. Additionally, it’s important for practices to be vigilant in monitoring their networks for suspicious activity and to have a plan in place for responding to a ransomware attack, such as having a data recovery plan and not paying the ransom.

3. Web Application Cybersecurity Weaknesses

As veterinary practices increasingly rely on Software as a Service (SAAS) to store and manage sensitive information, the potential for web application weaknesses to impact these practices becomes a major concern. Web application weaknesses, such as vulnerabilities in code, the logic flows, or access control weaknesses can be exploited by hackers to gain unauthorized access to sensitive information, including patient data, financial information, and personal information of staff and clients.

To address the problem of web application weaknesses in Software as a Service (SAAS) platforms, veterinary practices should take a multi-faceted approach that includes regular security audits and vulnerability assessments, implementing robust security protocols, keeping software and systems up to date, and educating staff on best practices for staying safe online. Implementing two-factor authentication and monitoring network activity for suspicious activity can also help prevent your veterinary practice from getting attacked through the web application of your SaaS products.

4. Supply Chain attacks

These types of attacks occur when hackers target the third-party vendors and service providers that a business uses in order to gain access to their systems and steal sensitive data.

In the case of veterinary practices using SaaS, this could mean that hackers target the servers or databases of the SaaS provider in order to steal sensitive information such as patient records, financial data, and personal information of staff and clients. This can lead to costly data breaches, reputational damage, and potential legal liabilities for the practice.

To address this problem, veterinary practices should ensure that their SaaS vendors and service providers have robust security measures. They should also consider doing background checks on SaaS companies’ past cybersecurity issues and, if any, consider using alternative services.

5. Advanced persistent threats (APTs)

Advanced persistent threats (APTs) are a major concern for veterinary practices that use Software as a Service (SAAS) to store sensitive information. These types of cyber-attacks are typically carried out by well-funded and highly skilled hackers who are able to gain access to a network and remain undetected for long periods of time. Once inside, they can steal sensitive information such as client records, financial data, and even intellectual property.

To protect against APTs, veterinary practices should consider implementing advanced security measures such as multi-factor authentication, regular software updates and patching, and employee education and training. Additionally, they can also consider hiring a cybersecurity firm to conduct regular penetration testing and vulnerability assessments to identify and address any potential vulnerabilities. Regular monitoring of network traffic and implementing endpoint protection solutions can also help to detect and prevent APTs. By taking these steps, veterinary practices can greatly reduce the risk of an APT and protect their sensitive information.

 With so many cloud choices, how do you know your data is safe?

With all these risks, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider migrating to the cloud. But it is very important that you choose a vendor that will keep your data protected. The good news is that Lucca can help!

Go to our website and fill out our contact form to schedule a FREE cloud consultation today!

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