Cyber Security: Securing Healthcare Endpoints

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March 13, 2020

Cyber security is a matter of urgency for every company. Even as techniques to stop cyber attacks become more advanced, an endless, steady supply of threats and vulnerabilities arise. It's an arms race between hackers and private data advocates, and it's extremely acute in healthcare.

Electronic health records have become one of the most sought-after objectives for cyber criminals, from state-sponsored espionage to run-of-the-mill hackers.

A suspected nation-state group perpetrated the largest single healthcare security breach in the United States, in which 80 million patient records were downloaded from Anthem Blue Cross by hackers who had accessed through a phishing email.

One of the biggest ransomware assaults was by hackers who gained control of the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center network, shut down EHR access, and asked for $3 million in ransom before care providers could regain access to patient documents to continue therapy.

These two examples highlight the variety of threat vectors, from state actors to anonymous criminal gangs. There are as many reasons for stealing patient documents as there are methods to access them. The struggle between health workers and cyber criminals is just beginning.

Unfortunately, most health care providers do not catch up with the threats, although they invest more time and resources in the effort. Recent surveys indicate that less than half of healthcare IT experts understand how their organizations would react to ransomware demands, and less than one-third have created a Security preparations Center to organize their defenses.

So how do health suppliers safeguard themselves in an age of accelerating threats?

The brief response is: holistic. You can't just secure endpoints or create a wall around your data storage and call it a day. It is crucial that safety is addressed across all IT operations, from network infrastructure, apps and endpoints, and to all staff who have access to devices and information.

Good news is that the increasing acceptance of cloud technologies and services does simplify some of these attempts by centralizing many data storage and access points. The use of the Thin Clients and Virtual Desktop facilities is another promising move towards enhanced safety, decreasing the amount of devices capable of hosting certain kinds of malware, and restricting access to built-in checks on PCs that are accessible to many users— such as nurses or in examination rooms.

Atlas7 is a leader in network infrastructure and cloud services, and cyber security has always been a key feature of our system architecture and activities. Every day, we tackle cyber security with our clients and partner with major equipment producers and software suppliers to deploy the most sophisticated security technologies available to satisfy evolving threats. If you need a safety evaluation to plan for the future, or if you need guidance on coping with an active threat, please contact us today.