Networking / April 21, 2020

Code Red: Overcoming the Top 3 Challenges to Optimize and Secure Networks in Healthcare

Healthcare is becoming more and more dependent on technology for delivering care and improving patient outcomes. This means that any disruption that prevents or delays access to critical systems puts patients’ health, safety, data and lives at risk. Any issues that result in the delay or degradation of care, whether they’re cyberattacks or bandwidth and performance problems, can affect patient outcomes.

Healthcare IT teams face formidable challenges in assuring the availability, performance and security of their networks. Here are three of the top challenges that impact healthcare teams today.

Challenge #1: The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) Adds Complexity and Risk

Here’s an interesting fact from a Deloitte report: There are more than 500,000 different types of medical devices, including wearable external medical devices (skin patches, insulin pumps and blood glucose monitors), implanted medical devices (pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillator devices), and stationary medical devices (home monitoring devices, connected imaging devices and scanning machines).

Connected healthcare delivers many improvements from outcomes to costs, but the introduction of IoMT devices like the above also introduces new risks. Wearables and implantables can be more vulnerable to cyberattacks, which can jeopardize both patient safety and privacy. IoMT devices also drive enormous amounts of traffic that must be secured.   

Challenge #2: Cybercriminals Are Increasingly Targeting Healthcare 

While connected healthcare delivers positive results for patient care, improving quality, outcomes and cost, the downside is significantly increased cybersecurity risk and compliance challenges. Healthcare organizations and the data they collect have become major targets of cybercriminals.

Challenge #3: The Lack of Visibility into Network Traffic Limits Insight  

Lack of visibility into traffic on the entire network limits insight into potential bottlenecks, cyberthreats and security vulnerabilities. Network visibility and analytics can mean the difference between good and poor patient outcomes.

A Prescription for Optimizing and Securing the Network 

Providers, payers and other organizations must enable the safe and secure use of technology to deliver the best possible care and services to patients. This requires a thoughtful, proactive strategy for defending the network — and patients — from disruptions that impact patient care and safety. At the core of this strategy is the ability to:

  • See everything on the network, including IoMT traffic
  • Understand performance and how to optimize it
  • Simplify operations with a single pane of glass
  • Detect and remediate threats faster to minimize disruption
  • Do more with existing staff, faster, through automation

Learn more in our whitepaper, “Network Visibility: The Enabler for Healthcare Innovation and Security.”

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