Every healthcare industry entity likely possesses many mobile devices, laptops, tablets and other moving parts with patient and employee data easily accessible. On HealthIT Security, Bill Kleyman wrote that this requires organizations to take a closer look at data security across their company, as trends like BYOD (Bring your own Device) and the consumerization of IT means there are more inherent risks to everyday business. This is a trend that has been noticed across the healthcare world, but several viable solutions are emerging.
"The world of healthcare will only continue to grow and expand as new hospitals built and there are more patient records to work with," Kleyman said. "Furthermore, all of this new data will need to be managed, monitored, utilized and of course secured. What good is a large amount of data if it can't be qualified or quantified? Plus, there is the need to manage such large data sets over a cloud or wide area network (WAN) connection."
To be able to control the data, it is important each healthcare organization is identify and classifying information according to how it relates to operational goals and compliance expectations. Another benefit to having control over data is being able to learn from it, including how to better serve patients and know what financial trends are coming with the right sets of information. To be able to do all of this, administrators need to find the right system that fits for them to use and secure their healthcare data.
Kleyman wrote on HealthIT Security that there are many mechanisms that companies can look into to use together or separately, including:
- Monitoring both local networks and others in cloud computing, as this will see where data utilization is peaking and perhaps where it is not being used
- Data security engines that will help secure environments where sensitive data lies
- Physical and virtual security options, which could feature scanning in virtual network and tightened physical security if there is a data center in place
As far as the plus sides of having access to and protecting this information, Kleyman wrote that hospitals, doctors offices and other healthcare specialists will be able to virtualize and explore big data, see real-time insight from their data sets and have the ability to easily gather evidence if legal liability is ever in doubt.
"The amount of data becoming available will continue to grow. This will not be a slow growth either," Kleyman wrote on HealthIT Security. "Over the next few years, we'll see exponential growth in data. This is where large organizations can be taken by surprise if they don't attack the problem early. In working with such a new field, remember to always retain control over something that is arguably one of the most important parts of any healthcare organization – data."
Fighting against breaches
Every healthcare organization will encounter security issues, and therefore the need for data protection and security. Michelle McNickle of InformationWeek spoke with Doug Pollack, chief strategy officer at ID Experts, who gave some tips for how organizations that serve patients can better protect themselves and their information from breaches.
After encryption, Pollack said these organizations need to do something many are not prepared to do; accept there may be a breach eventually and prepare for the worst case scenario of what could happen if there is one.
"We're increasingly finding … hospitals are interested in testing their response plan," Pollack said. "They'll assemble folks and do a tabletop walk through of a sample data breach."
At this point, healthcare organizations can easily review their compliance and privacy settings regularly and close data security gaps whenever they pop up. With better control of data, organizations can stop potential breaches in their tracks.
Data Security News from SimplySecurity.com by Trend Micro