Top 5 Considerations for Healthcare Security

July 9, 2018 Security, Trends

In today’s ever-evolving world of technology, it’s no secret that businesses and organizations need to strengthen security measures on all devices on their network. In the past, certain access control measures and tier one security software was ample to protect PC’s on the network. Today, there are so many more devices that connect to a business’s network beyond the standard PC. It’s crucial to ensure that these devices are all secured, especially in a healthcare system where all data is sensitive and HIPAA laws are becoming stricter. I’ve compiled a list of the top five most important things to consider for healthcare professionals looking to better their healthcare network security.

1) Increase the Security and Resilience of Medical Devices and Health IT

Healthcare relies heavily on technology through all lines of services and in all managed facilities.  Specialized medical devices that were previously autonomous standalone pieces of equipment have evolved into mobile, network connected devices.  These devices are critically important in operational care and information sharing, and now they possess a wide variety of connectivity methods.  Properly managing these devices can require many control points that include device location and asset tracking, securing device networks or interface access, and securing all information transmitted to and from each device.

 2) Define and Streamline Leadership, Governance, and Expectations for Healthcare Industry Cybersecurity

Many healthcare organizations have started the process of allocating specific resources to address the demanding requirements of IT security and cybersecurity.  From an executive or administrative viewpoint, this effort will likely redefine or contribute to the roles and responsibilities from the top level down- through each managerial or service tier.  Fortunately, healthcare organizations are discovering that managing the demands of cybersecurity require dedicated top-level leadership, often demanding the creation of an executive level position (ex. Chief Information Security Officer or CISO). IT cybersecurity has now reached a level of pertinence and importance that can see eye to eye with that of basic operational expenses. It has become a shared responsibility across all lines of services within an organization- no one is exempt anymore.

Detrimental cybersecurity threats are popping up at increasingly high rate with some organizations getting hit daily. This level of persistence requires constant alert notifications, impact evaluations and responses to ensure that nothing slips through the cracks.  Consequently, expectations in properly managing cybersecurity threats will only increase with each breach that impacts critical operations. All healthcare organizations- whether in the beginning stages of focused efforts or those allocating additional cybersecurity resources need to remember the critical need for a baseline. A baseline, or a standard of organization for all points of information within your IT infrastructure, is a necessary step in securing your network. Comprehensive network and security assessments/audits are a recognized best practice for helping establish an organization’s much-needed IT infrastructure baseline.

3) Increase Healthcare Industry Readiness Through Improved Cybersecurity Awareness and Education

Compliance and cybersecurity awareness training is essential in helping a healthcare organization mitigate threats such as email phishing and ransomware propagation. Helping protect users and securing the information exchanged among users is a shared responsibility between network, security, and desktop administrators.

4) Identify Mechanisms to Protect Research and Development Efforts and Intellectual Property from Attacks or Exposure

 Methods to protect information are always growing more and more specialized. Protecting shared information is a basic requirement among research and development entities within health care.  But how does an organization create a method or solution to protect the exchange of proprietary information between partners? The answer typically lies within cloud-based collaboration applications or secured site-to-site network transport, including customized VPN access.

5) Improve Information Sharing of Industry Threats, Weaknesses, and Mitigations

 Today there is a known gap in compliance regarding healthcare cybersecurity which results in a lack of required direction or governance. In some cases, following regulatory compliance unintentionally results in sharing and providing open access to security related information -which can lead to breaches. To make this information sharing safer, healthcare IT departments can subscribe to security threat advisories available through multiple deployment solutions.

 

 

Senior Solutions Consultant, Lee Berdick, has been passionate about the IT industry since he was 17 years old. Today’s technology concerns has molded Lee into quite the Security expert!