From Home to Hospital: The High-Risk Patient Data Highway


Healthcare data is a prize target for cybercriminals, who can all-too-handily monetize valuable private information like Social Security numbers and insurance policy numbers. In fact, a whopping 81 percent of healthcare organizations reported some kind of data breach in the last two years alone.

And where security is concerned, healthcare mobile apps are in "critical condition," according to IBM's 2016 State of Application Security.

A big part of the problem lies in connected medical devices, such as wearable heart or blood sugar monitors, that easily transmit data to and from cloud-based apps. The growing "liquidity" of data flowing to and from medical devices, the cloud and caregiver systems is bringing security to "a tipping point," as a recent Data Informed reporter pointed out. The path from home to healthcare provider across various Internet connections and data centers can be fraught with security risks.

So what's a healthcare IT leader to do?

Embrace the opportunity—and the need to secure it

Despite the risks, connected devices and remote monitoring technologies are truly revolutionizing healthcare, from the ability to integrate clinical information and reduce medical errors to the truly profound opportunity to improve patient outcomes. And healthcare leaders are not shying away from this possibility, either: The Dell Global Technology Adoption Index found that public and private healthcare cloud adoption jumped from 25 percent in 2014 to 41 percent in 2015.

As I pointed out in my post about the evolving healthcare IT landscape, it's time to make the leap from using new technologies as add-ons to making them fully integrated tools. This includes prioritizing cloud-based healthcare apps in the larger security strategy.

In addition to a robust, frequently revised cloud security management plan, specific solutions that your team should consider include strong enterprise platform encryption and real-time backup. EMC's healthcare security and storage solutions, for example, include safeguards like shorter backup windows, clinical archiving, and storage pool encryption.

The key is to accept the opportunity of richer data—as well as the responsibility to protect it every step of the way.


October 26, 2016