At the beginning of May 2017, hackers launched a worldwide cyber-attack on various entities around the globe. Using a piece of stolen malicious software originally developed by the National Security Agency, hackers penetrated countless computer systems around the world. Overall, 74 countries were affected by the attack.

However, what caught my attention was the attack on multiple health systems across the UK that left many patients stranded. Why did they attack hospitals? Why are hackers targeting the medical sector? Here is the reason.

In today’s increasingly developing and highly competitive health sector, doctors and medical professional are being compelled to get their business online. Most of them are now using electronic prescriptions, online appointments, and remote medicine to serve their patients.

The push also includes collecting personal information through electric means and making available sensitive health information to patients via websites. In the wrong hands, the information on these websites can be used in illegal activities like fraud or theft.

It’s, therefore, essential to ensure you do everything possible to protect your medical site from hackers. How can you do this? The answer is simple, and it is by securing your websites with SSL.

What is SSL? And why do you need it?

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a secure channel that helps you transmit data on your medical website securely. It encrypts data and protects sensitive information such as patients’ contact details, social security numbers, and credit card details. Here are five more reasons why you should use SSL.

Complying with HIPAA and HITECH rules and regulations

HIPAA and HITECH have clear rules and regulations on how you can share your patient personal information. The rules also specify who you can or cannot share this information with. Failure to comply with these rules and regulations can result in severe penalties or costly lawsuits from your patients. SSL ensures your data is protected and also encrypts any information traveling between a visitor’s browser and your website. SSL makes your website a HIPAA-compliant site.

Building trust

The modern patient is becoming more and more security aware. Your patients want to know that their sensitive information is secure and cannot be accessed by third parties. They will not trust you blindly. SSL increases the trust factor by introducing secure mechanisms that validate your business existence and reliability. With SSL, your patients will openly share their information and carry online transactions securely.

Increasing conversion rates

Want to expand your client base? SSL can be useful in morphing new patients into loyal patients. A recent study shows that most patients look for SSL security icon before they submit their personal information through a medical website. If your website has SSL security icons, this will help you attract new patients and also help you retain your existing patients.

Boosting your ranking on search engines

Google has been a staunch supporter of SSL and ranks top websites that use SSL. If you use SSL, your website is likely to appear top on search engines’ results page and give you more visibility, which is a valuable asset in today’s world. Visibility means increased brand reputation and makes you more accessible to new patients.

Accepting payment securely

Do you plan to receive payments online? You will need a merchant account to do so, and most of them will require you to have added protection. SSL provide this added protection and helps you and your patients transact securely on your website.

Simple security measures will not protect patients’ information. The medical community must be ready to embrace SSL if they want to prevent attacks and make their businesses ready for the future.