By all accounts, given the seemingly overwhelming amount of efficiency gained through technology, the same increase of mobile devices, virtualization software, social media and the consumerization of IT remain some of the most pressing security threats for healthcare and dental practices. The increase of mobile devices, embedded devices, virtualization software, social media and the consumerization of IT are the top five security threats for healthcare organizations today.
Of the many threats against healthcare organizations and dental practices, there a few that should float higher to the top of the list, Healthcare IT News reports. Dental practices should consider their top risks and recommendations for minimizing them.
Multiple Mobile Devices Bring More Risk
Mobile devices are ubiquitous in today’s society, and the number and types of devices used by dental practice staff, patients and visitors continues to grow in practices throughout the country. While organizations consider providing anytime network access in their practices to ensure patient satisfaction and improved patient engagement (the jury is still out on that), it makes it even more difficult to protect against outside infection.
One possible recommendation is employing the use of network access control (NAC) solutions that offer the ability to “identify each type of user and connected device, scan the device for threats – including out-of-date anti-virus or anti-spyware protection – then provide access based on the device and the user’s role within the network,” the magazine reports. This solution can provide a view of network security across all brands of equipment and devices so that nothing falls through the cracks. “Such a view is crucial in healthcare organizations, whose networks are often comprised of infrastructure from multiple vendors.”
Consumer Friendly IT
More frequently, dentists and practice employees are being allowed to use their own devices at work, but this poses problems and can be difficult to manage. Specifically, as users adopt their own devices for professional use, practices are experiencing more network security threats. Traditionally known as BYOD, this new trend is “driving the need for network security solutions that can cover multiple types of devices and infrastructure components.”
The recommendation here is that practice leaders must respond with “security solutions that identify any consumer-adopted device, scan for threats and deficiencies, then provision access or automatically remediate problems – regardless of the type of device or location.”
Embedded Devices Are the Norm
Tablets and mobile devices with Wi-Fi have become more common and allow for embedded connectivity; however, the embedded connectivity within these devices “puts a strain on bandwidth and exposes the network to viruses brought in by a host of new connected devices that are different from traditional PCs.”
Healthcare IT News says that practices should implement “a security solution that will protect the integrity of critical (and often private) data and close any vulnerability gaps in the network.”
Social Media Spreads Viruses
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, for example, are fully entrenched in the world vernacular and are obviously here to stay. No doubt, you’ve seen or heard of crazy friend requests, quizzes and polls that purportedly are setup with the intention to steal user information. Have you considered what would happen if this type of social media attack infected one of your office computers?
Malware can spread quickly through social media sites and it can be virtually impossible to permanently block access to social media at your facility, so what can you do to protect your computer network? You’ve got to take action and, if nothing else, educate your employees about the dangers of such use while at work. Make sure that your teams and your technology are up-to-date with education and tools that will help prevent future issues. If you suspect that your network may have been infected, identifying which devices are infected is essential to maintaining network security and protecting crucial data. This is no time for a DIY fix. Consult an IT professional – they call them that for a reason– and let them investigate the issue. You’ll save time and headaches and you may be able to avoid data loss.