Your Gateway to
Capital Intelligence
Home Technology Navigating Data Breaches in Healthcare: The Six Layers to Securing Remote Connectivity

Navigating Data Breaches in Healthcare: The Six Layers to Securing Remote Connectivity

by Tunae

Learn how to create a robust security framework for sensitive patient data in a remote environment

Securing Remote Connectivity in Healthcare

(Credits: Shutterstock)

Security is critical for healthcare organizations, particularly those with remote workers or that use remote solutions. Robert Haist, CISO of TeamViewer, details the six layers of securing remote connectivity in healthcare.

More than 100 healthcare data breaches have already occurred in the United States in the first few months of 2024. While security should be of the utmost priority for all industries, it is especially important for healthcare organizations as the information and data they have on hand are particularly sensitive.

The industry already has stringent security standards, such as The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which sets the standard for sensitive patient data protection. However, the risk of data breaches and security threats is even higher for healthcare organizations with remote workers or that use remote solutions. For those companies, security continues to be a paramount activity.

For example, a US-based provider of mobile diagnostic equipment relies on in-home tests to monitor brain activity – from sleep disorders to epilepsy – and with remote connectivity, the company can monitor its devices remotely to identify issues and take appropriate action, giving patients significantly more freedom.

When dealing with sensitive data, the company has ensured that its technology partner remotely monitors its devices in a reliable and secure manner, ultimately making the company a trusted testing source for numerous physicians.

To ensure the security of patient data, companies must take a holistic approach that combines robust infrastructure, compliance, data protection, product-specific features, and proactive measures against fraud.

To guarantee a robust and holistic approach, think of security in six layers.

Layer One: The Commitments for Security Posture

A strong security posture begins with a clear corporate commitment—this is the foundation. According to IBM, healthcare organizations are failing to implement basic security measures despite the fact that 85%Opens a new window of cyberattacks in critical infrastructure sectors could have been prevented with basic security measures. Getting leaders on board is all the more crucial.

This top-down approach includes keeping employees informed about the latest security updates, consistently training partners and vendors for a safer ecosystem, actively engaging with the wider security community, and collaborating on briefings, forums, and government entities.

Layer Two: Setting Expectations

Companies must set clear security standards to secure operations. Most breaches can be traced back to privacy lapses or access violations. At the heart of any effective security system lie two core principles. The first is privacy, which protects employee and proprietary data; the other is access control, which ensures only authorized personnel can manage vital systems.

See More: Safeguarding Patient Data: Compliance Strategies to Follow 

Layer Three: Defining the Actors

To establish effective security measures in healthcare, it’s essential to recognize and understand the different actors involved. The actors can be grouped into three categories.

Humans—whether employees, partners, or vendors—interact with other people and systems, fitting into specific roles and departments.

The second is machines, which include computers, servers, and network devices. These are tools stakeholders use on an everyday basis and are vital for operational flows.

And lastly, bots are designed with basic programming that emulates human or machine behaviors or uses automation to streamline tasks.

With a robust security posture – particularly within remote connectivity in healthcare – we have to examine these actors to set precise security expectations for each of them.

Layer Four: Understanding the Security Risks in Healthcare Applications

To tackle security risks, you first have to understand them.

Drawing from overall cyber and network security trends, there are four types of security risks for healthcare applications:

  1. Inherent risks that arise from neglecting basic security practices, such as ignoring the employment of encryption, which can compromise remote worker security;
  2. interdependent risks that stem from sensitive data that has been exposed (e.g., revealed login details);
  3. incidental risks associated with communication intermediaries. For instance, security can be weakened by misconfigured firewalls or compromised VPN gateways;
  4. intrusive risks are centered around access—the more access points that are available, the higher the risk.

Layer Five: The Key Security Configuration Objects

Once the risks have been identified, several critical parameters must be configured within the remote connectivity platform to mitigate prominent security risks effectively.

These parameters include identity, credentials, policy, connectivity, and deployment.

Establish a unique identity for each actor to ensure clarity in communications and safeguard actual identity.

Verification and credential mechanisms are essential. Implement processes like authentication checks and encrypted information exchange to ensure a secure connection between the involved parties.

Implement rigorous access policies and determine permission based on factors like user location, time, and role. Be sure to regularly review and adjust these policies to account for changes. This constant review ensures that only authorized users can access systems. It also mitigates risks associated with a lack of offboarding or outdated permissions.

Secure every data exchange. Employ end-to-end encryption, similar to protocols used by secure websites, to ensure communication and connectivity integrity.

Continuous vigilance is key. Even after deployment, incorporate regular updates, encryption key rotations, and monitoring for any anomalies.

Remote EEG Monitoring company is an example of an organization that continues to be vigilant about security. Skilled team of technologists relies on instant data monitoring in critical care settings, where every second counts and immediate identification of abnormal brain activity allows medical professionals to intervene promptly with appropriate treatments.

Ensuring this type of swift data is rendered remotely can have notable security risks. However, with the company utilizing robust security features through its trusted technology partner, they have unparalleled peace of mind, ensuring HIPAA compliance and safeguarding patient data.

Layer Six: The Golden Security Rules  rules

At last, we have the final—and maybe most important—layer: the six golden security rules. With the remote patient monitoring industry growing significantly over the past few years, largely accelerated by COVID-19, these rules provide guidance on how to arrive at the best possible security posture for supporting any remote connectivity in healthcare.

  1. Use multiple authentication layers, such as two-factor authentication.
  2. Implement features like single sign-on for streamlined daily operations without compromising security.
  3. Create clear rules about system access to ensure only authorized individuals gain access.
  4. Advocate for unique and long passwords, in addition to periodic password updates.
  5. Use automated procedures to ensure systems are always updated.
  6. Schedule regular, automated data backups for recovery assurance.

Ensuring Robust Security in Remote Healthcare Solutions

Establishing a strong security framework from the get-go is important to keeping systems secure—especially in healthcare, where it’s paramount. Health Point Neurodiagnostics and Integris Neuro are real-life examples of healthcare organizations that have taken the risk of using remote solutions to better their patients’ lives, but they have done it safely and securely by working with a technology provider with a proven and trusted track record.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

Are you sure want to unlock this post?
Unlock left : 0
Are you sure want to cancel subscription?