Digital Resiliency, The Future of Healthcare 

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As recently as only a decade ago cybersecurity wasn’t the overwhelming threat that it is today. Threats were less pervasive—it was something that happened to other organizations, and not that frequently. However, times have changed, with major cyberattacks impacting businesses across all industries and forcing them to reevaluate their cybersecurity strategy. Among these industries, healthcare facilities find themselves prime targets due to the premium data they store, reliance on digital technologies, and unprotected legacy systems. These aggressive cyberattacks often force healthcare facilities to work manually in order to ensure continuity of care. It’s important to note the crucial role digital resiliency plays in healthcare facilities as they work to secure patient safety, data security, price awareness, and reputation management.

Risk from Breaches

Hacker breaches have varying effects on healthcare facilities, with three proving particularly damaging:

  • Patient Data – Healthcare facilities hold the most critical patient data, and a breach jeopardizes this invaluable information.
  • Reputational Risk – Patients drive hospital success; losing their data means losing their trust.
  • Financial Impact – Poorly implemented zero trust security can be extremely costly, from both lost revenue and remediation expenses

Continuity of Care

Security breaches can disrupt continuity of care, forcing hospitals into offline operations. For example, the impact of this shift to manual processes can be seen in cancer care. Chemotherapy proves to be a highly regimented procedure, meaning it relies on digital systems for safety, accuracy and effectiveness. The absence of computerized support preventsaccess to established order sets with conflict checking for lab results, allergies and medication orders. Yet, on the flip side, if a machine is not properly patched, it can be accessed and compromised. Thus, a careful balance between electronic use and digital resilience is vital for a hospital’s success.

Implementation

When deciding on how to improve one’s security, the need for practical implementation comes to the forefront of mind. With the plethora of options to segment your network, such as routers, switches, and virtual firewalls, the implementation decisions are endless. Yet, it has become apparent that manually making these decisions for each network, and every device, is a lot of work. Instead, a software-based solution will quicken the process.

ColorTokens, at its core, has implementation as a part of its features. With an extensive map, you can truly understand the traffic that is moving across the network and from device to device. You don’t need to bring in new firewalls, rather, just use firewalls that are already there. Zero Trust proves to be an effective defense but the challenge is in its implementation.

Future of Attacks

Not only do these attacks compromise patients’ digital health, but they can compromise a patient’s physical health as well. If a healthcare machine that physically interacts with patients, such as a radiation therapy machine or drug infusion pump were to be compromised then it has the potential to cause physical damage to the patient.  While it hasn’t happened yet, the rate at which cyber attackers are evolving means it is possible in the near future. This is why zero trust and microsegmentation-based security are necessary defenses. Those who aren’t prepared for these attacks are forced to shut down whole systems, leaving their patient records inaccurate and potentially threatening to a patient. Digital resiliency starts with the correct implementation of the right defenses.

Future of Digital Resiliency in Healthcare

It doesn’t matter how many locks you have on a door, if you don’t lock them, they prove to be ineffective. Similarly, it doesn’t matter how many security tools you have if you do not implement them correctly.

Thus, there will be an increase in support from companies on implementation. Security tools will not merely be handed over with well wishes; instead, they will serve as guides throughout the actual implementation process. This will emphasize digital resiliency and ensure continuity of care.