Industry Trends

Network Security Trifecta: 3 Positive Impacts Integrated Security Solutions Can Have on Healthcare Institutions

By Susan Biddle | October 05, 2016

There was a time in the healthcare industry when the pulse oximeter was considered by many to be the most technologically-advanced product on the market. This device was designed to measure the oxygen saturation of blood and was not connected to wireless networks.

Times have changed.

Fast-forward to today, and we see wireless medical apps, connected medical devices, long distance test analysis, and much more – an estimated 398 billion dollars more - sweeping across the industry as it shifts towards a more connected and outcomes-focused approach.

As these patient care technologies develop and are integrated into healthcare environments, security needs to keep pace. In an attempt to keep up, we see many of today’s organizations constantly implementing new one-off solutions focused on addressing single security needs as they arise. Additionally, most organizations acquire these solutions from a number of different vendors.

Their goal is to make their expanding environment and attack surface more secure against new threats. However, what these companies often times fail to consider is the tangled web of technologies that can result after years of adopting one-off resolutions. Information gets stove-piped, correlating data from different monitors often has to be done by hand, and many sophisticated threats slip between the cracks of this accidental architecture.

This is where the importance of an integrated security solutions strategy in the healthcare industry comes into play. Let’s take a closer look at three business impacts an integrated security solution can have on healthcare institutions:

  • Reduced Complexity
  • Improved Security
  • Threat Intelligence
  1. Reduced Complexity

We regularly see healthcare organizations that have implemented security devices into their networks from dozens of different providers. As imagined, this requires a pretty heavy financial investment. While the capital investments to acquire these devices are fairly straightforward to account for, the amount of time and resources that need to be devoted to operating, maintaining, and fine-tuning these devices – the operating expenses - are often overlooked.

Because each isolated security device has a separate control, management, and reporting console, correlating data to identify threats often has to be done manually, not only making a unified view of all deployed solutions complicated and time-consuming, but also highly prone to error.

A fully-integrated security fabric allows those managing the systems to maximize their investments and increase their efficacy in identifying threats by reducing their policy enforcement and management view across multiple systems to a single pane of glass. This makes catching threats a more systematic and cohesive process, rather than the result of hours of pouring through data and blind luck.

When it comes to the consolidation of the security devices themselves, an established security fabric lets organizations plug their technology partners into a single unified system (via open APIs) at all critical points, including the hypervisor, cloud, and sandbox, to better combat threats.

It’s important for healthcare institutions to remember that operational complexity when it comes to security usually equates to a greater chance of a successful attack against the system.

  1. Improved Security

Traditional firewalls and other IPS technology were originally created to inspect traffic at the perimeter of networks. However, data protection in today’s healthcare environment requires solutions that work at the speed and latency levels that are required across the entire network, including inside the perimeter. All traffic needs to be inspected along the entire data path, especially with borders that are constantly shifting in virtual environments.

A fully-integrated network fabric has the ability to provide IT teams with an in-depth inspection of the entire distributed environment without interfering with individual devices and other applications – and most importantly – without disrupting well-established clinical workflows. Once the analysis is complete, the information is shared between individual devices so threat intelligence can be improved at a global and local level, and if a threat is detected, a coordinated response can be implemented anywhere along the attack chain.

  1. Threat Intelligence

Identifying and mitigating a threat is one thing, preventing future threats from entering the environment is another. An integrated security solution system will collect threat intelligence from a variety of local and global sources and store it in a centralized location.

This way, all devices can act on the information that has been collected from inside the network, as well as from around the world. This centralized approach to threat intelligence can mean the difference between protection and compromise when it comes time to defend against the next advanced threat targeted at the healthcare community.

Fortinet offers an integrated and collaborative security fabric that works with your existing security technology to make it easier to manage, monitor, and effectively combat threats across the entire network. This scalable, aware, and open solution provides actionable security that can protect the entire healthcare network, from the IoMT to the cloud. 

Let’s get a conversation going on Twitter! How is your organization currently managing all the individual security devices that have been deployed?