How to Enhance Cybersecurity within Healthcare
As we discussed in our last post, the healthcare industry is being relentlessly targeted by a range of cyberattacks due to the inherent value of the sensitive data it collects, processes and stores. These attacks not only put extreme financial pressure on the industry, but also create daunting risks to patient privacy and health.
Jen Easterly, director of the federal government’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, recently said the target-rich healthcare industry will be a primary area of focus for the agency in 2023. Recommended technologies for improving cyber resilience within the industry include:
A zero-trust strategy is designed to verify and validate the identity of every person or device attempting to access network resources. Core technologies include identity and access management (IAM), real-time user and device verification, and privilege limitations. Another key element is a software-defined perimeter (SDP), which cryptographically blacks out some network segments, making them undetectable to unauthorized users.
MFA solutions help prevent unauthorized access to applications, systems and services by requiring a combination of verification factors rather than just a password. Better yet, implement phishing-resistant MFA based on FIDO/WebAuthn authentication standards, which offer stronger protection by replacing passwords with hardware-based keys with cryptographic protocols.
In addition to the typical endpoint devices found in most organizations — PCs, laptops, smartphones, etc. — healthcare organizations often have thousands of networked medical devices such as patient monitors, infusion pumps, pacemakers and imaging systems. Endpoint protection solutions integrate antivirus, anti-malware, intrusion prevention, data encryption and personal firewalls to block threats.
The healthcare industry is being relentlessly targeted by a range of cyberattacks due to the inherent value of the sensitive data it collects.
Segmentation divides the network into smaller, isolated parts with unique security controls that establish least-privilege access for each segment. It won’t stop an attack, but it restricts malware from spreading and hackers from moving laterally through the network to collect sensitive data.
Email is the most common delivery mechanism for ransomware, malware, infected attachments, viruses and phishing attacks. Email filtering solutions block malicious incoming content before it reaches end-users. Additionally, consider implementing DNS filtering that blocks user access to malicious domains, IP addresses or cloud applications before a connection is ever established.
Data Loss Prevention
DLP solutions help ensure compliance with healthcare data privacy laws such as HIPAA and HITECH by ensuring adherence to policies regarding the way personal health information is handled and shared. DLP scans outbound communications such as email and file transfers and host-based activities such as copying files to removable media, and generates alerts if any of these activities violate policies.
Immutable backups that cannot be altered or deleted provide protection from ransomware strains that spread throughout local systems and encrypt backup files. A backup copy isolated from local systems can’t be compromised, ensuring you can retrieve your data. Additionally, all backup data should be scanned regularly to ensure that it has not been infected by malware.
Organizations should install updates for operating systems, firmware and software as soon as they are released, and prioritize patching virtual machine software, VPN servers, remote access software and known exploited vulnerabilities. A centralized patch management system can automate and expedite the process.
Implementing, monitoring and managing such a security environment can be a tall task for healthcare organizations that may have few skilled cybersecurity employees on staff. GDS works with many healthcare providers to implement a comprehensive portfolio of data protection solutions that can be fully managed by our deep team of cybersecurity engineers and technicians. Contact us here to see if our services can help you address your requirements.
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