The healthcare industry was among Australian sectors that reported the most breaches in 2020. One hundred and sixty-six cyberattack incidents were reported, nearly double what they received in the previous year. Moreover, the highest proportion of health sector incidents were related to compromised systems.
Healthcare institutions are targeted by cyber attackers for many reasons. One is that they safeguard and hold large amounts of sensitive data, including intellectual property such as vaccine research. They also contain identifiable information like medical and insurance details to be sold on the black market.
Due to the time-sensitive nature of healthcare services, this sector is more likely to accept ransom demands and blackmail. This is especially true if a possible life-threatening situation is involved.
An example of a security vulnerability healthcare institutions like hospitals face is the Internet of Things (IoT) security. These are usually connected with medical devices like MRI and X-ray equipment, typically obtained from third-party sources. Since these medical devices aren’t built with security as a priority, they are vulnerable to cyber attacks that try to access their sensitive data.
Still, IoT security has redefined the industry due to many reasons, including how it allows access to large amounts of data and the possibility of telemedicine and remote services.
Best Practices for IoT Security
Perhaps the biggest challenge to modernising legacy systems is ensuring that it has a secure, impenetrable infrastructure. While it seems like a big undertaking, the best move forward is to first lay down a solid foundation. This includes integrating security into the infrastructure’s core from the processor level: from hardware for employees to third-party equipment.
When healthcare organisations ensure that security is in place, they can better identify IoT-specific security vulnerabilities that need to be upgraded. They’ll also know how to incorporate these in a cost-and time-efficient way.
Here’s how healthcare institutions can proceed:
1. Full Security Assessments
Even the most prominent organisations must have an accurate and detailed inventory of every asset in their space. Still, building an impenetrable security infrastructure must account for both old and new devices that can access the organisation’s private network.
Security assessments also involve validating the implementation of technical controls under industries or government frameworks.
2. IoT-Specific Security Technologies
The need for operational technology (OT) security is changing as more and more of these environments are being connected to enterprise networks and exposed to threats on the internet. While this online connection makes data gathering and remote management of the OT environment easier, they also provide attackers with entry points.
Meanwhile, IoT-specific security solutions do not require agents, effectively securing all connected devices regardless of whether they are Information Technology (IT), OT and IoT devices. This is important because attackers generally see all connected devices as part of a single system.
A siloed security system that sees only one of these environments cannot keep OT systems secure. This is why securities technology worked to develop and improve simplified solutions with a multi-faceted approach to mitigate risks.
The use of IoT security in the healthcare industry has provided the sector reliable protection against cyber attacks and threats. Still, sustaining this development is only possible if IT leaders in the healthcare sector explore more solutions and services that secure all devices used by healthcare professionals.
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