June 5, 2024

Healthcare Data Security 101: How to Protect Medical Data with Encryption

Healthcare is one of the top three targeted industries in terms of cyber attacks. The industry also generates around 30% of the world's data volume, with a significant portion containing sensitive patient information. This vast amount of data, often referred to as Protected Health Information (PHI), requires robust security measures to ensure patient privacy and compliance with regulations.

The exponential increase in the healthcare data also makes it highly vulnerable to malicious cyber attacks and data breaches, which can lead to devastating consequences.

How Important Data Security is for Healthcare?

Robust data security measures in your healthcare organizations can be a game changer. The security measures will not only prevent sensitive healthcare data from unauthorized access, but they would also ensure continued and streamlined operations, making critical healthcare services readily available without interruptions.

Protecting patient data is not just a legal obligation; it is an ethical imperative. Healthcare providers have a duty to safeguard the sensitive information entrusted to them. HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and other regulations outline strict guidelines for handling and protecting PHI.

What Happens When Healthcare Data is Breached?

A breach containing healthcare data can have detrimental consequences for both the healthcare organizations and the patients. Healthcare has the highest cost of a data breach among all industries, standing at

Identity Theft: Stolen medical records can be used for fraudulent activities, including obtaining medical services, prescription drugs, or loans under a patient's name. This can lead to significant financial losses and emotional distress for patients.

Disruption of Services: Cyberattacks can disrupt healthcare operations, leading to delays in diagnosis, treatments, and appointments. This can have serious consequences for patient care and potentially endanger lives.

Financial Loss: Healthcare organizations can face significant financial losses due to data breaches. This includes fines and penalties for non-compliance with regulations, legal fees, costs associated with notifying patients, and potential reputational damage.

Reputational Damage:Data breaches can erode patient trust and damage the reputation of healthcare providers. This can lead to loss of business, legal repercussions, and difficulty attracting and retaining qualified healthcare professionals.

Discrimination: Sensitive medical information can be used for discrimination in employment, insurance, or other areas of life. This can have a profound impact on a patient's livelihood and well-being.

These devastating consequences highlight the critical need for robust data security measures in the healthcare industry. A proactive data security measure such as file encryption can not only protect sensitive healthcare data from attacks but it will also give healthcare organizations and patients a peace of mind for their data.

How Does File Encryption Protect Healthcare Data?

File encryption is a process where contents of a file are transformed into an unreadable and undecipherable format. The process involves using an encryption algorithm, such as AES, along with encryption keys. The encryption keys contain the precise pattern for the algorithm to transform the file’s contents, so that the same keys can be used to reverse the encryption process (decryption) to restore the file’s contents to its original state.

File encryption ensures that even if unauthorized individuals gain access to the encrypted healthcare data, they cannot understand or utilize the information, rendering it useless in the hands of cyber attackers.

File encryption is inherently different from other file security measures such as password protection, where files are locked with a layer of password and can easily be broken to gain access to the files.

How to Protect Medical Data with AxCrypt

AxCrypt is a powerful file encryption solution designed to safeguard sensitive healthcare data. Here's how healthcare organizations can use AxCrypt to protect their medical data:

Automatically Encrypt Healthcare Files in a Folder on Desktops:

Watch the Video Tutorial:

STEP 1: Download and install AxCrypt: https://axcrypt.net/download/

STEP 2: Launch AxCrypt and sign in or sign up with your credentials.

STEP 3: From the menu, go to File > Options and check the ‘Include Subfolders’ option.

STEP 4: On the main screen, click on the ‘Secured Folders’ tab and right-click to add the desired folder that you would like to automatically encrypt files within.

STEP 5: Create, modify, add, or drag files to the secured folder and AxCrypt will automatically encrypt them once you click the ‘Cleanup’ button on the top-right or sign out of the application.

STEP 6: You can open the encrypted files by either double-clicking a file or by clicking on ‘Open Secured’ in the main menu and selecting the file.

Additionally, set AxCrypt to automatically sign out and encrypt any opened files by going to File > Options > Inactivity Sign Out and selecting the desired duration.

Your most recent encrypted files will appear on the main screen on the ‘Recent Files’ tab, and will have a file extension of .axx. You can add new folders and subfolders and AxCrypt will automatically encrypt them as well.

To permanently decrypt a file, click on the ‘Stop Securing’ icon from the main menu strip on top and select the files that you’d like to decrypt.

P.S. When you open a file to view or edit, it only creates a temporary decryption process, and any changes made to the file will automatically be re-encrypted.

AxCrypt can also automatically encrypt and sync files from your Windows to your Google Drive and OneDrive accounts, allowing you to access and edit them on the go on your phone.


Data security in the healthcare industry is an absolute necessity. AxCrypt's file encryption provides a robust solution for securing healthcare data. It automates encryption in designated folders, preventing unauthorized access and use of information, safeguarding patient privacy, and ensuring regulatory compliance.

Additionally, AxCrypt helps ensure protection from cyberattacks, data breaches, and disruptions to healthcare operations. This, in turn, protects both patients and providers. Its user-friendly interface and advanced features make it an ideal choice for healthcare organizations seeking a reliable data security solution.

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