Industry Trends

Embracing End-to-end Network Security for Healthcare

By Susan Biddle | April 04, 2016

When it comes to security, healthcare is in the middle of a perfect storm.

On the one hand, access to data distributed across devices and locations is paramount – diverse providers and connected organizations need that data to flow freely in order to do their jobs. While on the other hand, securing sensitive patient records has never been more important or difficult, since electronic protected health information (ePHI) is extremely valuable to hackers and scammers – 10 times more valuable than credit card data, in fact.

The solution is for healthcare providers to adopt end-to-end security measures that allow them to embrace new technologies and ways of working while also protecting their most valuable asset: information.

Securing next-generation healthcare enterprise

The pressures faced by healthcare IT administrators are unique, since hospitals and related care centers represent fragmented and complex infrastructures and data paths. For example, what works for securing a centralized hospital data center might not work for a physician’s home computer connection, or, what works on a hospital-owned and controlled smartphone or tablet might not translate to a BYOD environment at a remote clinic.

Fortunately, there are holistic security solutions available that can ensure security across diverse IT environments.

Main hospital and data center: For centralized staff and providers, Fortinet’s flagship network security platform, FortiGate, provides the hardened data protection needed to ensure the safety and usefulness of patient data. By providing these users with control and visibility of network traffic, the most important hubs of care can operate at their full capabilities.

Next-generation firewall management: When distributed healthcare enters the picture, new tools are needed. FortiManager and FortiAnalyzer provide coherent management of fragmented networks and data streams, complete with logging, analysis, and reporting functionalities. A complex data picture is simplified, visibility is enhanced, and all of its moving parts are protected.

Distributed medical offices and home workers: Security across distinct offices and home locations requires flexible security practices and technologies. FortiGate/FortiWifi and FortiVoice are among the technologies that provide comprehensive protection for these smaller locations – including customer premises medical equipment.

BYOD mobile users: The unique challenge of embracing BYOD is that it invites an essentially infinite range of device types, user habits, and locales into the IT environment. These devices, which might connect to the network from either outside the main firewall or from within the network perimeter, require technologies like FortiAP and FortiSwitch to allow for rapid scaling, policy enforcement, and simplification.

Advanced threat protection: Reducing the available attack surface of a healthcare organization can prevent many attackers from obtaining information, but it requires advanced tools that cover user authentication, VPN, SSL inspection, application controls, antivirus, and other factors. Technologies like FortiSandbox expose previously unknown malicious threats and examine them within a secured environment, providing the intelligence and protection necessary to secure the healthcare environment from escalating threats.

Case study: Barnabas Health

Barnabas Health, New Jersey’s largest integrated healthcare delivery system, needed to securely connect approximately 95 sites of varying sizes and IT resources. These remote sites had varying levels of IT sophistication, so their security solution needed to be as flexible as it was powerful

So they looked to Fortinet.

By leveraging Fortinet’s Unified Threat Management functionality, Barnabas was able to build a workable, sustainable security infrastructure that all providers and staff could use. One of the most important benefits of the transition – aside from next-generation security – was the renewed confidence Barnabas IT staff felt in their system. With some of the sites reporting little or no IT experience and resources, the value of implementing such a comprehensive solution that all parties could successfully adopt is hard to overstate.

Learn more

To learn more about next-generation network security and the specific solutions offered by Fortinet, download our full healthcare security white paper at

The full Barnabas Health case study is also available at .