Secure Texting Can Be A Weak Link

Imagine getting a text that says “your daughter has been in a serious accident.” Of course, you go into panic mode. Adrenaline rushes in, and the only thing your brain can process is how to gain more information.

At times like this, we’re at our most vulnerable point. We click. We answer calls. We say yes.

And we set ourselves up for security risks.

Studies show that when we receive a text message, we pay attention.

Currently, texting is the most widely-used app on a smartphone, with 97 percent of Americans using it at least once per day. And when we get a text message, they have a 98 percent open rate, and on average we’ll read it within 5 seconds of receiving it.

Not a lot of decision making time to determine if it’s real or if it’s fake.

That can be a big problem, especially as we move texting into more professional contexts. The health and wellness industry is ripe for patient-centered care options using technology, especially with secure texting and secure messaging. Not only is it increasingly being used for provider-to-provider communication, but providers are using it to stay in touch with patients as well.

Sending a text to your spouse to pick up a few items at the grocery store for dinner isn’t the same as revealing private health related content. Release the wrong data at the wrong time, and you can quickly have a disaster on your hands. Not only can it impact your relationship with your clients, but it can also destroy your reputation as well. .

Security in the texting realm isn’t just for the security officer or the IT department; it’s for every single person in the chain: medical professionals, office staff, and patients. You have to create a system that is not an overly burdensome process for the end users, yet difficult enough to prevent easy penetration by hackers and other less-than-forthright users.

The weakest link in and security program is the user. So it’s important that people consistently are reminded and trained on what to look for in all communication –  including emails and texts – and what to avoid.

Phishing attacks, for example, are often used to gain access to inside systems using employees credentials. And over the years, these fake messages have become increasingly more believable. When you train end-users on what to look for, they learn how to recognize questionable messages that come through. They have a procedure in place to test real from fake, to question before releasing anything that may potentially harm the overall system.

And while that can be more difficult when reaching out to patients, if you build security into the process throughout your organization, you’ll have procedures in place to alert your patients quickly when things go awry.

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