Friday Quick Take: Three Ways Healthcare Organizations Can Align Cybersecurity, Tech and Business

The complex healthcare ecosystem is chock-full of diverse and disparate technologies. On any given day, providers utilize countless systems and applications essential to their regular workflows, oftentimes in high-stress situations. Put another way, healthcare users need to be able to provide care and easily access apps and data while not sacrificing the security of the organization or patient data. This is quite the predicament for security teams, requiring good business policy backed by the right technology mix to then execute and enforce those policies over a myriad of applications and systems, both on-premises and in the cloud.

Healthcare organizations can address these challenges with identity governance to create a unified approach to their cybersecurity programs. Here are three ways identity can help:

Security Gaps

With the multitude of systems in place, a lack of visibility can mean that users have access to the most sensitive data without the business ever knowing. Even the smallest gap can lead to a cascade of negative consequences and, most importantly, to sensitive patient data being exposed. This type of exposure can have major consequences, including up to $1.5 million in fines for just one HIPPA violation.

Clinical Workflow

From a workflow perspective, the disparate systems and processes can also affect clinical care. For example, due to accidental oversight, a contracted physician may be given access to an electronic health record (EHR), but not the enterprise content management system where scanned clinical media and photos are stored. This disparity could be the difference between providing timely care or an accurate diagnosis to a patient in need.

Multiple Authoritative Sources

Many provider organizations have multiple authoritative sources such as human resources and electronic health records. These are systems and applications where user identity and access rights are most accurately defined and deemed by the provider organization as the true source for such information. Having to manage multiple identity sources and their access rights creates difficulty in ensuring consistent execution of policies and resource optimization.

Taking a governance-based approach to security helps to ensure decisions about users’ entitlements are based on all the relevant information. Connecting all the applications and systems is of paramount importance, and an absolute requirement for both security and compliance in the healthcare environment.

Still, this is an incredibly difficult issue for healthcare organizations to pin down. The data tells us that around ninety percent of hospitals reported a breach in the past 2 years. The reaction to that statistic should be implementing a strategy designed to mitigate gaps in security while providing a unified approach to these moving pieces.

Get a closer look at what a unified approach looks like for healthcare organizations in our ebook, Unifying Governance for Disparate Healthcare Technologies.