Let’s take a look at some of the benefits Identity Management offers healthcare systems.
There has been a significant surge in cybersecurity breaches within the healthcare industry the last several years. The large volume of personal and sensitive information stored by practitioners and providers makes them a primary target for cybercriminals on a global scale. Recent reports show that in 2019 alone, data breaches and network security lapses will cost healthcare organizations 4 billion dollars. Current statistics also reveal that while overall healthcare systems IT expenditures have increased, total cybersecurity spend has decreased over the last year, with 92 percent of facilities lacking a full-time staff dedicated to safeguarding its digital environments. As if things weren’t already complicated enough, hospitals are now dealing with cyberattacks exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic.
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While cyber-attacks are a concern in all industries, CISOs in healthcare organizations are both attractive targets and subject to financial and regulatory penalties. As such, there is an increased urgency to mature their cybersecurity programs. A significant number of breaches are results of internal threats. A HIPAA Journal article highlighted that employee and insider negligence cause up to 53 percent of all healthcare security lapses. While there are many ways to address cybersecurity challenges in healthcare, today we’re going to take a look at several features identity management solutions offer health organizations.
4 Benefits Identity Management Offers Healthcare
1. Automated Access Control To The Network
Access control requires the enforcement of persistent security policies in a dynamic world where the traditional network borders (internal/external) no longer exist. Today, most organizations have hybrid environments where data moves from on-premises data centers to the Cloud. Moreover, access to corporate systems occurs across an increasingly large array of devices, which only adds to the risk. This complexity makes it impossible to create, manage, and secure data with a set of access policies managed in local systems by an administrator. IAM solutions support sophisticated access control policies that can adapt to respond to evolving risks.
2. Advanced Authentication
In order to access any secure system, users are required to authenticate. The most common form of authentication occurs when the user proves their identity to the system by providing a valid username and password. The system only grants access if the user is able to provide the correct credentials. While this is a good first step to system security, it is a known issue that user passwords can be guessed or easily learned by others through social engineering.
With IAM solutions, organizations can provide more advanced authentication methods to improve system security. Users can be required to provide an additional factor to validate their identity before they are granted access. This additional factor can be a token or badge (‘something the user has’), or a biometric scan, such as a fingerprint (‘something the user is’). The IAM system can enforce different access policies for each system, device, or network (e.g. internal network vs. public Wi-Fi). The more sensitive the system or the more risk, the more sophisticated the authentication methods. Healthcare organizations can greatly increase security beyond username/password to authentication methods that offer more protection.
3. Standardized User Permissions
Healthcare organizations leveraging an IAM solution can also manage the specific permissions assigned to individual users more precisely and better enforce industry best practices for security. For example, the principle of least privilege dictates that a user should only have enough access to fulfill the responsibilities of their job function. In order to grant the right amount of access to a user, we have to know their job function and what access rights they should have. In short, the user’s role in the organization determines what access they should have. IAM solutions support Role Based Access Control (RBAC) and other security frameworks that are designed to support security principles such as Least Privilege, Separation of Duties, and Data Abstraction.
The process of defining roles begins by analyzing the users’ access in relation to their job function within an organization. For instance, in a healthcare organization, the different user roles may include: doctor, nurse, attending, patients, etc. Each of these users will require a different level of access in order to perform their job functions, and the types of transactions will vary greatly depending on security policy and any relevant regulations (e.g. HIPAA, etc.).
4. Centralized System Audits
While IAM solutions offer preventative controls, such as access management, they also offer detective capabilities as well. IAM solutions provide central databases to log and audit user transactions, access requests, and other activities. With centralized logging and reporting tools, security teams can deliver consistent system audits and reports efficiently, allowing them to focus energy on value-add activities. These real-time checks allow IT professionals to detect and remediate potential issues proactively, helping a medical facility remain compliant with HIPAA legislation and avoid fines and penalties.
IAM Roadmaps Unlock the Benefits of Identity Management Solutions
Your company will invest a significant amount of time and money in an Identity Management (IAM) solution. Strategically managing that investment is a priority, especially with rising security costs and an IT environment that’s rapidly evolving to a cloud-centric architecture. Are you using the right IAM solution to maximize your program’s value to your organization? How do you know which vendor is right for you? And how do you ultimately gain organizational buy-in?
Learn how to evaluate the needs of your organization (people, process, technology) and the steps you can take to build a comprehensive, convincing IAM Roadmap to guide key stakeholders at your company from concept to reality. In this webinar, you’ll learn:
- How to engage and empower your key stakeholders
- How to evaluate and prioritize the needs of your organization
- How to find the best fit of available solutions
Watch On-Demand “Unlocking the Benefits of an Identity Management (IAM) Roadmap”.
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