Health care providers have deployed a proverbial universe of new technologies in the past decade, with enterprise mobility, electronic medical record systems, cloud computing, telemedicine solutions and others now commonplace in the average hospital. There are certainly arguments to be made that patient care has progressed significantly since the turn of the century, but plenty was left to be desired with respect to the skill with which data is protected.
Hackers, insider threats and others have increasingly targeted and successfully exposed sensitive information, and it would be hard to argue against new technology's place in this particular equation. Health care providers must become a bit more IT security-centric in their strategic overhauls and management programs or run the risk of losing significant sums of money should an event take place, not to mention the threat of regulatory compliance penalties that can be above $1 million.
The cloud question
Security Intelligence recently reported that the rise of cloud computing solutions has thus far complicated health care strategies from a defense standpoint, as getting by without the technology can be somewhat difficult in the modern era. This has been the case for myriad trends and new technologies, in that medical firms have had to quickly move on deployments to avoid the prospect of falling behind competitors or not maximizing the efficiency of care.
For example, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act demanded that medical firms begin to deploy EHR systems and achieve meaningful use of the data therein in a very fast fashion. According to the news provider, the cloud is increasingly at the foundation of these strategies to boost the efficiency and value of stored data, but this can be somewhat difficult to handle when leaders are not taking an intelligent approach to implementation.
The source argued that many health care providers have started to use a managed services firm for their cloud needs, which essentially puts the responsibility of security on experts who specialize in these types of processes. At the same time, though, Security Intelligence noted that the user always has to ensure that contracts are properly managed, and that their MSPs are effectively maintaining compliance with any and all federal statutes by which they are covered.
Plenty more to come
The cloud is only one major trend that medical firms have had to embrace in a timely fashion, as telemedicine, BYOD and the Internet of Things have had direct impacts on patient care in the past few years as well. What's more, many firms have struggled to secure basic communication and information sharing mediums such as their email systems, which makes it clear that something needs to give soon to ensure the integrity of cyberdefense programs.
Working with an MSP that can offer email encryption and compliant communication solutions along with secure cloud services might be the best bet for hospitals and other medical organizations to overcome the challenges of modern IT protection.