Hospitals, across the globe, are moving towards widespread use of internet-connected devices in their hospital settings, in a bid to tap into their impressive benefits. But what they are failing to understand is that, in making this push towards IoT they are opening themselves up to grave security risk. To be more precise, the networked devices that hospitals are going gaga over have an inherent flaw. If left unsecured, these devices can be exploited by hackers to gain unauthorized access to the network and cause irreversible damages to the safety and security to all the concerned parties. Hence make sure that you weigh your options properly and take appropriate precautions such as the ones mentioned below, before fully embracing these devices at your practice.
Segment your network into secure zones:
Network segmentation helps you in two ways. One is it makes sure that there is no single point of failure in your network; and the other is, it provides effective controls to restrict the propagation of a threat.
Secure your medical device connection points:
Securing your device end points by implementing appropriate control mechanisms prevent hackers from simply unplugging a device from an ethernet port and plug in their laptops to gain access to your hospital’s network.
Secure your third-party network access:
Always keep in mind that all your hospital staff – from doctors, nurses and auditors to contractors and vendors — do not necessarily need the same levels of access to your network. Hence make sure that you segment and keep a tab on their access centrally.
Ensure HIPAA compliance:
Implement policies that secure information exchange between handheld devices and prevent HIPAA compliance violations.
Secure your texting:
Text messaging is the most convenient and widely used mode of communication for doctors and nurses. Hence it is up to you to ensure that none of the confidential data goes out through this medium – either accidentally or willingly – by implementing a secure texting solution.
Spread security-awareness in your staff:
Engage with your staff at all levels and make sure that they are well aware about the importance of maintaining utmost level of security while using their mobile devices. Also make sure that you train them appropriately to tackle every unseen security treat.
Centrally manage your devices:
As per recent reports, devices that are monitored and managed centrally will provide the highest degree of security among all the contemporaries. Hence it is advisable to use this fact to your advantage as much as possible.
Secure your log-ins:
Establish a centralized log-in procedure to make sure that the network-connected medical devices are not compromised in any way.
Audit your security frequently:
Conduct regular third-party security audits to detect and eliminate potential security vulnerabilities.
Healthcare is an extremely sensitive industry, wherein you cannot afford to wait for an attack that causes real damage to the safety and security of patients. Hence be prepared and stay on top of everything by giving top most priority to the security for your practice.