Over the past few years, some positive and negative trends have emerged in the cyber-security industry. Using information from DataBreaches.net, a breach tracker, a healthcare compliance company, Protenus, tracked 2018 trends in health care data-breaches. Upon analysis of the data, Protenus released its 2019 Breach Barometer report.

The data from 2018 revealed that from 2017 to 2018 there was only a slight increase in the total number of data breaches annually. While the total number of data breaches increased slightly, the number of personal health care records exposed in those breaches tripled, according to the report. This means that there is more of a risk of personal data being exposed due to a breach now than ever before

Protenus’s report revealed that in 2018 there were 503 breaches, while in 2017 there were only 477. Although there are only a few hundred breaches per year, there are many more personal records exposed in each breach. The number of personal records exposed jumped from 5,579,438 to 15,085,302 from 2017 to 2018.

Another trend that follows the increase in records exposed is the amount of money that companies are spending as a result of the breach. The more personal records that are exposed, the more expensive the costs are to the company affected by the breach. The average cost of a data breach has risen for the fourth straight year according to Ponemon, a company that conducts independent research on data protection. The average cost that a company must pay has risen to $225 per record exposed says THE Journal, and that was just in 2017.

The Protenus report also looked into other trends that both 2017 and 2018 showed. In 2017, the breaches reached their peak in March. After this, they steadily decreased throughout the rest of the year. In 2018, the trend was not as promising. As 2018 progressed, the number of records exposed continued to increase. From quarter to quarter the increases are very apparent: Q1 began with 1,175,804 health care records exposed to 6,281,470 records in Q4.

Health care breach trends continue to shift and present new challenges. Be sure to keep your patient’s data secure; you can find more information about how to protect patient Protected Health Information (PHI) at HIPAAgps.com.