Blog Post

Protecting Patients: Evaluating Risk in Healthcare Environments

By 05/11/2020 No Comments

Healthcare security leaders know what truly matters within their organization: the level of risk associated with the day-to-day operations of a busy hospital or healthcare system.

Healthcare security personnel focus on addressing risks across the cyber-physical landscape and make sure the level of access control and surveillance is adequate to facilitate proper protection and response. A forward-thinking roadmap and plan for addressing these risks are crucial to ensure quality patient care, the safety of the people and protection of the brand.

There are a number of factors for healthcare facilities to consider when it comes to identifying physical security pain points and aligning business operations goals in the evaluation of solutions that address risks. It is important to recognize the traditional on-premises methodology is actively shifting and all organizations are quickly moving to the secure cloud. However, there are a number of steps that need to be taken to truly identify the benefits that the cloud brings to the healthcare market. The first — and arguably most important — is determining the risk to the organization.

The healthcare vertical is both complex and evolving, bringing to light the management of critical assets as well as the safety and security of some of the most vulnerable people among us. The cyber-physical risk requires an approach that is multifaceted and takes a number of factors into account:

  • The safety of patients, visitors and staff, including the threat of infant abductions, executive travel, terrorism, nearby neighborhood threats and workplace violence as a result of a high-stress environment.
  • The protection of physical personal and sensitive (or proprietary) hospital property — much of which is valuable and expensive equipment with high impact. Personal property loss could lead to lawsuits or negative ratings that impact the bottom line, computer loss could lead to data loss, and prescription medications could lead to non-compliance.
  • The protection of digital information (intellectual property, patient info, personal info), necessitating the added evaluation of network security both in cloud/on-premises environments and mobile.
  • The need for situational awareness, streamlined and efficient response and emergency management protocols for any number of potential scenarios.
  • The assessment and review of aging infrastructure which may no longer meet baseline operational, physical or cybersecurity requirements. These systems may be a weak link in the chain of operational resilience and business continuity.

This leads many to believe that the healthcare sector faces some of the most dangerous threats compared to its counterparts in other vertical markets. The inherent risk and heightened nature of response within a healthcare setting make it unique in how security leaders and consultants determine the tools necessary to help mitigate threats in a proactive manner. Asking the right risk-based questions enables a manufacturer, consultant or integrator to deliver the proper level of insight and recommendations on moving forward with technology investments.

The Changing Nature of Risk
Security is all about recognizing risk and creating layers of protection that comprehensively address potential vulnerabilities across a constantly evolving business. Healthcare organizations are especially familiar with this goal, as the ultimate success of the industry depends on providing safety and security to those that need it most so that the highest quality patient care can be delivered. Understanding this risk is the first step in a long process of selecting the right technology and tools for overall effectiveness, and cloud is emerging as a strong contender to provide the level of protection needed for this industry. Want to learn more about how the cloud is contributing to this goal? Click here.