Security threats have wreaked havoc across sectors, but no other industry stands to lose as much as the healthcare industry does. Because they deal with lives, every single day. So if there’s one industry that cannot afford to make a wrong call, it’s healthcare. And healthcare professionals are only too aware of this. But in an era where data is a currency, aren’t information security officials as much responsible for patients as doctors are?
The hospital staff deals with a lot of data – real-time vitals that are crucial for doctors to decide on a course of treatment, stats in the OR that help doctors make decisions during surgeries, medical history that helps healthcare professionals come to a diagnosis and so on. Imagine a cyberattack that bars access to all this data – until a ransom is paid or a certain deal is struck. Doesn’t paint a pretty picture, does it?
Now, there’s also the issue of securing the scores of mobile devices that healthcare professionals use to access/store information. In addition, there is a plethora of connected devices (medical equipment) that has to be secured and kept updated at all times. And all of this should be reason enough for IT professionals in healthcare to roll up their sleeves and get to work.
Let’s take a look at the aspects of information security healthcare organizations must consider while taking measures to up their defenses.
Healthcare institutions deal with tons of confidential data. So compliance and security risks are, no doubt, major considerations. As such, operating workloads in the cloud is quite a challenge for their IT staff as the traffic to and from cloud needs close monitoring. Attacking a cloud server is comparatively easier as miscreants not have to worry about on-premise components. And that makes protecting the data on cloud even more difficult.
Off late, ransomware has become a major security threat. Most of these are propagated through phishing, which tricks users into giving out information or facilitating malicious networks. So, it’s imperative for healthcare organizations to identify the weak spots in their security and fortifying them instead of trying to figure out ways in which miscreants could leverage malware to cause harm. Healthcare institutions must work towards improving visibility into how data traffic flows within the organization to uncover patterns of ransomware. They need to protect both internal and external threat surfaces. And that cannot be done using technology alone, it must be user-driven.
Unsecured Mobile Devices
As far as security is concerned, the hundreds of mobile devices being used by employees have only made matters worse. BYOD in healthcare calls for stricter policies that take every aspect into account. As employees go mobile, the chances of data being leaked, whether intentionally or unintentionally, rises exponentially. Plus there is the question of granting them access to different systems – systems that have a wealth of information which, in the wrong hands, could be catastrophic. Thus, it’s crucial for healthcare organizations to be able to monitor the flow of data in real-time.
Connected devices have brought in great opportunities for healthcare, both in terms of improving care quality and easing administration. However, they have brought in a new set of challenges to deal with, data privacy and security topping the list. Most implantable IoT devices and wearables are vulnerable to attack. So the proliferation of such devices have raised concerns regarding data collection, processing and transmission – concerns that must be addressed immediately.
That’s precisely why healthcare institutions must consider endpoint security. The use of UEM solutions in healthcare has been slowly gaining momentum as endpoint management solutions can help safeguard both data and devices. 42Gears UEM can help secure, monitor and manage touch points across facilities. Try 42Gears for free.