The Surging Need of Healthcare Data Security

By CIOReview | Tuesday, March 21, 2017
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Ever since the digitalization of electronic health records (EHRs), the probability of cybersecurity threats has increased at an alarming rate. While the process of automation boosts operational efficiency and streamlines the administration of patient care, it also runs the risk of generating security breaches. In the current tech-savvy world, it is duck soup for hackers and fraudsters to gain access to and exploit sensitive data which might lead to a material loss. What’s more surprising is that these malicious parties are so advanced with their strategies and techniques that solution providers are now finding it difficult to keep pace with them. Hence, it is high time that medical organizations upgrade their data security facilities and innovate new ways to tackle this problem.

In recent times, developments in the healthcare sector have brought about a considerable transformation to its security landscape. Several new technologies are coming into play, safeguarding patient information, and defending the finances and reputation of various health systems. These include encryption, advanced network monitoring, penetration surveillance and many other IT security tools that are being implemented in health organizations for better protection and improved vulnerability assessment. However, computerized tools do not always guarantee the management of hazards thereby entailing other proactive and productive measures. Employee training is one such initiative which should be executed whereby the staff is guided on how to retain secured health information and similar private data on their mobile devices at work as well as at home.

Now the question that arises here is: Are latest cybersecurity technologies are more competent than traditional cybersecurity tools? The answer is a definite yes. Modern technologies are remarkably structured to prevent ransomware attacks within any healthcare organization. Through the deployment of access control mechanism, it is possible to thwart the intrusion of hackers into an operating network. Moreover, if the elevated privileges in the framework are removed, it becomes all the more troublesome for the hacker to penetrate the network, thus obviating the possibility of cyber espionage.

Next in the line comes the practice of behavioral analytics that can discover identity theft, based on a behavioral perspective. By means of its machine learning capabilities, the system can detect what is normal and what is not. In this manner, it easily differentiates between a regular user and an unauthorized entity, consequently blocking any illicit entry into the system.

Moving forward, the present healthcare domain witnesses the advent of technologies that facilitate remote patient monitoring. Care delivery platforms and mHealth connectivity solutions, the most prominent units of the mHealth technology value chain, are rapidly gaining momentum. With the help of these tools, patients can keep a check on their own health and if required, interact remotely with their respective clinicians in a cost-effective way.

With the ingression of IoT into healthcare, organizations are now looking for unique ways to enhance data security. Creating a data inventory is a viable solution as it incorporates the details of medical information—where it originates, where it moves and what are its transmission capacities. In addition to this, M2M communication has also made a substantial progress in the healthcare space. Hospitals today employ IoT-based applications, ranging from cutting edge analytics to standard tasks such as enriching clinical workflow. In order to leverage IoT security, CISOs are required to have a comprehensive knowledge of their medical inventory while collaborating with manufacturers and the operating community.

Apart from all the aforementioned formulae, cloud computing acts as a reliable tool to deliver specialized services, navigate data and cache patient information. The two-factor identification method adds an extra layer of security that enables only certified users to access the cloud data. It asks for a secondary mode of identification like a fingerprint or custom software in addition to the usual username and password set-up. The security intelligence system integrated with cloud keeps an eye on the logs of all cloud servers and firewalls for any unusual activities. By doing so, the system can detect and block malwares, and can terminate imminent data breaches or data loss.

With actionable network security, cloud computing can transform the healthcare industry by making it feasible for health professionals to share critical data, empowering patients with optimum control over their own medical records and endorsing the culture of security in the healthcare workplace.