Like most innovation-centric industries, the healthcare vertical is undergoing rampant adoption and acceptance of the Internet of Things (IoT) as it strives to improve services, performance, and function.
Accelerated leaps in technology have given healthcare executives extensive access to technology designed specifically to improve care levels as well as elevate the overall patient experience.
As a result, connected devices and a multitude of other medical technologies are on the rise in healthcare facilities of every size and scope as IT departments continuously source the very latest innovations to best serve patients.
How new medical devices can increase cyber threat risk
Unfortunately, the increase in connected devices and enhanced medical technologies brings with it an increased risk of cyber attacks and data security breaches.
Recent statistics show that cybersecurity vulnerabilities cost the U.S. healthcare industry over six billion dollars each year.
Additionally, in just the past few years alone, approximately 90 percent of hospitals have experienced a compromise in network security, forcing IT departments across every specialty to ask, “Is the reward of heightened technology across our organizations worth the risk?”
In a word, yes. Most healthcare organizations would agree that the performance boosting benefits delivered by cutting-edge medical devices, systems, and tools make upgrades and implementations a worthwhile venture.
However, with heightened rewards come heightened responsibility for healthcare IT departments throughout the U.S. Fortunately, vigilance with medical technology can begin with (or even before) procurement.
If you’re purchasing new devices or systems within your healthcare organization, taking these four critical steps can reduce cyber risks, helping to keep both the device and your internal infrastructure secure.
How to secure new medical technology
1. Ensure visibility across all devices
Many healthcare IT departments realize too late that not having visibility on all devices throughout their medical organization poses a serious threat to cybersecurity and safety when adding new tools.
Before purchasing any new devices, it’s essential to develop a thorough digital inventory of your existing technology to pinpoint the current status of every resource, as well as an itemized list of assets including information systems, servers, and other IoT devices that may communicate with it.
A detailed record provides the big picture intelligence needed to determine if any new technology you’re sourcing poses a threat to your facilities.
A detailed inventory will also help pinpoint how well the new technology will integrate with your existing infrastructure.
2. Develop detailed risk assessment
Creating a risk assessment and remediation strategy is critical when considering implementing any new technology.
Carefully outline the risk profile of every product to evaluate possible threats throughout your organization (both on a micro and macro level) and ensure that every purchased device will assimilate well with existing controls and protocols.
3. Create proactive prevention strategies
No matter what the size of your healthcare organization, chances are high that its network has several access points, making it a major target for hackers and cybersecurity threats.
The best way to keep your infrastructure safe when implementing new devices is to outline proactive prevention strategies to maintain the health of your networks and keep your systems one step ahead of the latest cyber attacks.
4. Establish a company-wide culture of security
Finally, before purchasing new medical devices and technologies, it’s essential to develop a culture of increased security throughout the organization.
Healthcare IT networks consistently change due to a myriad of factors including staff replacements, the evolution of possible threats, and the constant introduction of new devices.
Establishing internal security practices – such as company-wide training as well as raising awareness on the latest cyber attacks – can help equip internal resources across every department with the information they need to identify a possible threat as expediently as possible.