Testing IT Risks in Healthcare IT Systems
Not a day goes by without news and reports around cyber-attacks. High-profile, high-impact cyber breaches are becoming common. IDC’s Health Insights group predicts that 1 in 3 health care recipients will be the victim of a health care data breach in 2016. Healthcare providers (including insurance providers) must encrypt personal information. A cyber breach can cause financial losses and more serious damage to the parties breached in the process than ever before. The repository of information saved in healthcare industry database is supposed to be sensitive, private and confidential.
A strong foundation for information security framework, organizations need to put the basics in place and then evolve.
In a healthcare setting a reasonably practical IT Security strategy to eliminate all possible cyber security risks is not usually possible. Given the extent of access required by various clinical and lab staff keeps changing, dynamics of IAM framework in a healthcare setting is quite different. In addition to the brick and mortar IT fixes – to discover and close any possible loopholes. Keeping this in perspective, a smart and very simple risk assessment strategy safeguard a possible attack into the system. Risks in the cyber space (IT Security aspect) in a hybrid healthcare IT System emerges from users, devices, applications and IT connections. Depending on the load on threat points, each organization has a different set of challenges while coming up with an IT System that is 100% fool proof.
On top of IT Security considerations there are some areas that healthcare organizations need to pay heed that strengthen the reasons to perform IT security risk assessment:
- Making Investment Assessment – Added technical capabilities usually involves a need assessment and matching it with investment grants.
- Bringing Work Productivity – IT Security technology has been instrumental in bringing efficiency in the Healthcare IT systems.
- Creating Hybrid Systems – Breaking barriers between On-Premise and Cloud based IT Systems calls for making informed decisions that relate to systems, applications, data and controls.
With an objective of understanding the existing IT system and connected IT environment, risk analysis should be tested frequently. The risk assessment plan in a healthcare based IT setting must include a comprehensive analysis of following parameters:
- Begun with identity management process, how the identification and authentication mechanisms work.
- Adherence to basics of IT security by attending to laws and regulations pertaining to minimum security control requirements including HIPAA and HITECH.
- Review the healthcare IT system’s security requirements and objectives.
- Assess the system or network architecture and infrastructure for in house setup, cloud and federated (or read interconnected)
- A complete picture of information provided to public or accessible via organization’s digital channels
- Information regarding physical assets, such devices, data center, network & communication components and peripherals.
- Various operating systems utilized, such as for PC, server operating systems and network management systems
- Review information captured or sent out through Big Data repositories, such as directories, database management systems and files
- Assess connections between users, devices and all corporate / healthcare applications
- Review the network details including supported protocols and network services offered
- Understanding of security systems dormant as well as the ones in use. This includes access control mechanisms, change control, antivirus, spam control and network monitoring
- Revisit automated processes including business process, computer operation process, network operation process and application operation process
- Understanding of all security components and solutions deployed, including firewalls and intrusion detection systems, IAM Solutions, Federation Solutions etc
Overall, in order to achieve a strong foundation for information security framework, organizations need to put the basics in place and then evolve. An IT system with poor foundation will keep attracting vulnerabilities. The risks and vulnerabilities to the organization will change over time and so is the criteria for assessment.
Avancer offers testing services to corporations in the healthcare segment. The service aims at identifying the vulnerabilities of the IT systems and suggesting measured to fix them.