Posted By Amanda Girard On June 24, 2021
With internet explorer security going away because of no longer being supported by Microsoft, healthcare agencies and organizations using that browser need to consider if that is jeopardizing their security. Major hacking events, including healthcare ransomware attacks, are increasingly reported in the news. In protecting sensitive system data stored on cloud-based SaaS technology EHRs, all potential security risks and ways in which data could be vulnerable must be evaluated. One such vulnerability may be the browser your EHR currently uses to access the internet.
Keeping browsers and software updated is vital for maximum security of any system. Given that, Microsoft is urging existing users of Internet Explorer (IE) to transition to Microsoft Edge as it will no longer be supporting Internet Explorer 11, the last major version of IE. The browser will not disappear, however, support officially ends in August 2021 and all security and mainstay updates with it. This means that any future vulnerabilities found in the browser would not be fixed by Microsoft via patches. As Internet Explorer security is no longer supported, along with that, any software requiring Internet Explorer as a browser is at much higher risk of security issues and cyber attacks.
Browsers such as Firefox, Chrome and Microsoft Edge are safer browser alternatives because not only will they continue receiving support, they are also open source browsers. Being open source means that there are many people testing the code for weaknesses and issues. Because open source browsers are constantly under the microscope for security risks and because these browsers in particular receive frequent security updates, they tend to be very secure overall. Internet Explorer security was not protected by being open source.
If you are considering a switch in your EHR system, be sure to evaluate for security vulnerabilities including the internet browsers it works with. By choosing a vendor product that supports multiple secure browsers, you will be able to prevent future security risks because there would be multiple alternatives for safe use, and as such, would also not require sunsetting should the one supported browser be discontinued.