We live in an era of almost incessant cyber crime. One of the industries under fiercest attack, of course, is healthcare. This isn’t a surprise. Electronic protected health information (ePHI) is a treasure trove of valuable data, containing birthdate, name, employment information, salary, family information, social security number and more.
Also attractive: the fact that healthcare itself is increasingly mobile, involving a variety of devices and data touch-points. Physicians can treat patients at any hour from a variety of locations, while patients often seek treatment at a distance, thanks to telemedicine apps and tools.
Those two dynamics create an intersection of heightened security risk: remote access.
Criminals frequently exploit remote access for several reasons. One is that physicians and administrators use numerous portals and BYOD devices with varying levels of security to link to healthcare networks. From a clinic desktop to a personal iPad, healthcare staff and providers work from a variety of locations. Obtaining just one set of login credentials allows a criminal to ride through an organization's system and into a massive database of patient information.
Another reason is that remote access has been a difficult area for IT teams to secure. Every healthcare security team faces the same challenge: they must meet HIPAA compliance standards and other regulations while implementing and securing advances in medical technology, including solutions often chosen by their business leaders. Finding the right remote access solution has been a tall order for many teams for just this reason.
It’s a demand that gets even tougher when you realize the solution must offer a seamless user experience for doctors and administrators, including self-service tools to help them complete routine tasks and solve challenges independent of their IT helpdesk. The world of medicine is fast-paced, urgent and complex. Cumbersome multi-step security measures simply don’t fly with most healthcare staff, who often devise workarounds that inadvertently create dangerous security gaps. Any remote access solution must be embraced by employees and physicians alike to offer adequate security.
The Adaptive Answer: How It Works
In the past, many healthcare IT teams have struggled to find a solution that checks all the right boxes. But some teams are now finding an answer that meets all of their needs: adaptive authentication. By partnering with two-factor authentication and tools like Citrix, adaptive technologies offer an additional layer of security that circumvents the burdensome requirements associated with traditional two-factor authentication.
Because adaptive authentication offers safe and convenient remote access, it’s a solution that works well with healthcare IT needs. Consider the functionality offered by advances in adaptive technologies:
- Risk analysis that inspects and considers contextual factors such as IP address, device fingerprint, geo-location and IP reputation data.
- The ability to block attacks by analyzing IP address reputation and real-time global threat intelligence.
- Greater control over authentication, including customized workflows for each resource and stakeholder group, to provide greater visibility into authentication attempts.
- Device fingerprinting that distinguishes between devices that match a stored footprint and devices that don’t. Once a user is successfully authenticated, the solution captures and registers a device’s unique characteristics – such as HTTP headers, browser fonts, time zone, IP addresses, browser plug-ins and data storage - for any user who’s been successfully authenticated. If future authentication attempts match the fingerprint, the user can proceed with no additional authentication needed, creating an “invisible” authentication experience.
- Authorization and authentication features that inspect and validate the user’s identity and group memberships against the data store.
In world where healthcare administrators and physicians require secure remote access from their phones, desktops, tablets or laptops – wherever they happen to be, whenever they need specific data - adaptive authentication is the best solution for authentication challenges. Best of all, because the solution is low-friction and transparent, doctors can access the data they need without extra steps – helping them focus on delivering excellent patient care.
There’s no doubt that healthcare IT faces intense pressures from dual directions. On the one hand, teams must fight off unremitting cyber attacks from well-organized criminals; on the other, they must provide safe remote data access for physicians making life or death treatment decisions. Secure, swift and convenient access to medical histories, biopsy results, prescriptions and other healthcare data care can be the determining factor in a patient’s outcome. By implementing adaptive authentication, healthcare security teams can deploy a solution that rebuffs even sophisticated criminals while empowering their organizations to protect their patients’ data along with their lives.