The Need of Identity Management in Healthcare

Healthcare, like any other industry, must engage with a security landscape that is riddled with difficulties and tensions. Cyberattacks and ransomware efforts are a persistent concern to healthcare organizations (HDOs). They claim a growing number of breaches each year, even before the COVID-19 pandemic drove the industry to migrate to telemedicine and remote labor (WFH). These "new normal" ways of work provided various benefits to both patients and providers, but they also expanded the number of high-risk endpoints vulnerable to cyber thieves' ploys dramatically.

Security is critical for any HDO hoping to succeed in this environment. This entails putting in place technology and other solutions to prevent unauthorized access to systems containing protected health information (PHI) and other sensitive data. Passwords are typically used to control access at every point of entry, for every device, and every user. Clinicians are constantly forced to remember and enter this security information because a strong, complex password typically contains more than 16 characters.

Simultaneously, clinicians in those HDOs are primarily concerned with providing care. They're on the ground, dealing with the necessary security precautions while providing excellent medical care to each of their patients. The internal IT staff in charge of defending the HDO network sensibly implements security mechanisms with strong, difficult passwords. What do you think clinicians do in such a scenario? They'll do what they have to do such as take shortcuts, devise workarounds for difficult password restrictions and also gain access to the numerous programs and devices they need to treat their patients at the time.

That is where the conflict arises. Clinicians working in an urgent care situation will almost always put expediency and convenience over security. This "security friction" is a well-known occurrence in hospital settings, where precautions put in place to protect against cyberattacks are frequently perceived as impediments to patient care.

Addressing this tension raises several tough concerns. Is it really necessary to have such complicated passwords? Can IT teams simplify cybersecurity safeguards so that clinicians can spend more time on patient care and less time worrying about passwords?

The answer to both questions is an emphatical "Yes." HDOs may truly simplify the complex by utilizing digital identity solutions, striking that elusive balance between effective cybersecurity safeguards and operational efficiency.

Is it really necessary to have strong passwords?

 

"Cybercriminals and hackers gain access to consumers' computers and devices by guessing their passwords. They impact negatively on the owners once they obtain access to the device." 

Preventing your devices from being hacked and exploited will need unique, strong, and encrypted passwords. But why else are they significant?

The frequency of cyber breaches in healthcare continues to rise year after year. In 2020, the healthcare industry reported a 50 percent increase in breaches. Furthermore, when a breach happens, healthcare suffers crippling consequences. A successful cyber-attack can bring a hospital to a halt for hours, days, or even weeks, jeopardizing the facility's capacity to care for patients.

Cybersecurity is a financial issue for any HDO, not just a patient safety precaution. This is because hospitals that suffer a breach may suffer significant financial losses. A healthcare data breach now costs an average of $9.42 million, which no other industry can equal.

HDOs require robust cybersecurity defense against a wide spectrum of data breach risks. It is not sufficient to rely on firewalls; the key is to regulate access to all data at each entrance point.

Complex passwords are the method to accomplish this at every point of access, with every device, and with every user. This is the fundamental cybersecurity requirement for safeguarding the HDO's network from unauthorized individuals attempting to obtain access to a hospital's network. They're more secure and harder for cybercriminals to hack.

Make it easier to remember complex passwords.

Complex passwords are time-consuming for clinicians, who may check in to applications and workstations more than 70 times per day. HDOs may strike the difficult balance of effective cybersecurity measures without disrupting clinical operations by deploying a digital identity framework adapted to the intricacies of the healthcare industry.

This identifies the potential of the best technological solution. It should incorporate single sign-on (SSO), which is a well-established method of eliminating manual password inputs while also permitting the use of more complicated passwords for systems and apps. Enhance SSO with multifactor authentication, which adds security by requiring end users to prove their identities in several ways before being permitted access to the system.

The advantage of combining seamless SSO with multifactor authentication is that the end-user is ignorant of the cyber defenses. It appeals to clinicians since it reduces complexity while yet delivering strong cyber security. In a nutshell, it accomplishes the main goal of balancing security with workflow efficiency.

Security for HDOs is made easier by digital identity solutions. They meet the need for a complete method of managing digital identities while providing cyber security against hackers. By adopting a consistent security and efficiency-focused strategy for managing digital identities across multiple ecosystems, HDOs can achieve that delicate balance of protection and workflow efficiency. The IT staff is pleased, as are the clinicians.

 

 

Credits: HELPNETSECURITY