With a surge in sources through which data is generated, patient related electronic data records are now innumerable. And keeping it secure is one of the biggest challenges healthcare IT is staring at today. FBI estimates the value of each health record to be in the range of $50 – $200. That just means, sensitive data worth millions is under constant threat. It’s a haven for data miners. More than 80% of healthcare Chief Information Officers and Chief Technology Officers report of their organizations being victimized by at least one cyber-attack in the past two years—and they are just waiting for the next one to happen.

In addition to the above, industry predictions like data interoperability, and analysis of patient generated data, calls for stronger and innovative forms of security. Here’s some insight into what that could look like.

  1. Moving beyond perimeter firewalls: So far, security professionals have focused on the expansiveness of the internet, and have worked on eliminating external threats that could break into their network. Creating firewalls for fortifying the core data center has been a go-to solution. However, specialists now recommend an inside-out approach along with building walls and check-points. Actively managing who has access to the most privileged credentials, can thwart an attacker’s ability to compromise these accounts. Another way to do it is by segregating networks closer to core data centers, and controlling who/ what can connect to them directly.
  2. Providing proactive compliance: Instead of auditing breaches manually and then implementing security measures as a response to the breach, companies are now demanding a more real-time solution. Continuous and automated monitoring, alerts, troubleshooting, and resolving performance and operational issues before they affect end users is the need of the hour. This would help address security threats as and when they occur, resulting in an aggressive yet policy compliant network.
  3. Making networks virtual: Through this, the data traffic within an organization can be managed by software rather than physical servers. This allows for isolation of the workloads into various separate secured zones. As a result, if any one zone gets bugged or breached, the others remain intact. Virtual networks are isolated from other virtual networks and from the underlying physical network by default, delivering access only to specific information needed by the users. This practice also improves performance of the servers, for external traffic and proactive monitoring.

The above possibilities offer strong competition to the threats, which ofcourse are showing no signs of dissipating. And when implemented together, these practices can create an intimidating defense layer. What more would you like to do, to protect priceless healthcare data?

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