Business & Technology

Fortinet at HIMSS 2018: Securing Connected Medical Devices

By Susan Biddle | March 02, 2018

Over the past few years, Fortinet has attended HIMSS to participate in conversations surrounding the direction of healthcare technology. We have contributed to and led these conversations, leveraging our cybersecurity expertise to convey the importance of securing IT investments to healthcare IT professionals. These conversations are especially poignant now, as attacks on hospitals and healthcare providers have become more impactful due to their frequency and level of sophistication.

In past years, we have led discussions on securing the next-generation healthcare enterprise, and how healthcare providers should respond to the increase in ransomware attacks and advanced threats. At HIMSS 2018, we are excited to have the opportunity to speak about the security risks posed by the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT). These devices are having an irrefutably positive impact on patient outcomes, experience, and operations. However, they also open healthcare providers up to potentially life threatening cyberattacks.

This year’s session, Security from the Start: Why Medical IoT Needs Protection Now will address how and why cybercriminals target IoMT devices, and how these threats can be mitigated.

Fortinet at HIMSS 2018

Here is everything HIMSS attendees need to know about this year’s Fortinet hosted session.

When: March 9th, from 12:00-1:00 PST.

Where: Session 304 - Venetian Convention Center, Marcello 4401

Who: This session will be hosted by Ladi Adefala, Fortinet’s Senior Security Strategist, and Hussein Syed, CISO at RWJBarnabas Health.

Why: Hospitals and healthcare providers are increasingly launching digital transformation initiatives to keep pace with a population that wants instant access to highly personalized information and convenient, quality healthcare. A big part of those initiatives includes delivering connected IoT devices to consumers. In the past, patients had limited means of communicating with their physicians or ways to view their own medical records or treatment plans. The IoT makes it possible for patients to review their records and communicate with physicians in real-time, using data collected and transmitted by devices. This improves outcomes and save both parties time. Additionally, hospitals will double their use of IoT devices for asset and inventory management by 2020.

The IoT is pervasive in unavoidable in the healthcare space. Currently, there are 3.7 million connected medical devices in use today, and growing. These represent 3.7 million attack vectors for cybercriminals to target. This is especially true as many of these devices are not designed with cybersecurity in mind, leaving them vulnerable to attack. Cybercriminals are aware of this and target these vulnerable devices as an entryway to the network, then expand laterally maximizing dwell time to steal valuable data.

These breaches can be devastating for multiple reasons. First, the devices can be critical to patient care, so a compromised device can be life threatening. Data breaches can also do immense reputational damage to hospitals, lowering patient totals and revenue. Finally, a data breach can put healthcare providers out of HIPAA compliance, meaning they will have to pay fines.

The goal of this session is to help healthcare IT teams embrace these necessary digital innovations for collaborative care, while ensuring the protection and privacy of their patients.

What Can be Learned and Who Should Attend

This session is valuable for c-level executives who make decisions on which technologies should be adopted, as well as IT teams who are responsible for maintaining the network and administering patches. A recent survey revealed that 70 percent of IT decision makers think that the security solutions used on computers and servers are also adequate for securing connected devices, which is inaccurate. This session will clear up misconceptions surrounding securing IoT devices, and provide best practices for doing it properly.

Attendees will learn:

  • The security challenges facing medical IoT devices
  • Real-world circumstances of healthcare providers designing security into medical devices
  • How healthcare providers can apply integrated security systems to protect human data

Final Thoughts

Securing the IoMT has to be a top priority for healthcare organizations. HIMSS presents the perfect opportunity to learn how to effectively implement security controls without compromising the patient care experience.


What are you most looking forward to learning at HIMSS 2018? Let us know on Twitter.

Read more about Fortinet solutions for healthcare.