INSIDE BLACKBERRY BLOG

How Can Hospitals Manage Security Risks?

ATHOC / 08.16.17 / Paul Neyman

Hospitals have many challenges when it comes to managing security risks. They house data that can mean the difference between life and death, including sensitive medical information, equipment, and treatment plans.  They also hold a large population of vulnerable people. For these reasons, it is imperative that hospitals take threats seriously.

Hospitals can manage risks by having set emergency procedures in place and by making sure all staff members are familiar with them. Communication systems need to function correctly, and outages and failures cannot occur.

The first step in managing risk is knowing about it.  The second step is to know who is responsible for what in all aspects of the organization. Even if just one person fails to understand their role in controlling security risk factors, it could seriously jeopardize public health and safety.  One of the most significant risks to hospitals is fragmented communication systems.

The rise of the internet has enabled hospitals to have information at their fingertips, but with this blessing comes disjointed communication systems. Servers become overloaded by databases that have duplicated data, viruses and defects.  Hospitals must be aware of what security and communications systems they use and how to operate them correctly to respond to threats efficiently.

Hospitals must be able to answer the following questions:

●      What information platforms do you use?

●      Does every part of the hospital use the same technology or is there more than one system in place?

●      Do the operating systems have overlapping functions?

●      Which systems work with each other?

●      What levels of security access does each staff member have?

●      What routine tests do you do to lessen the threat of a security violation?

When new technologies come into play, it can be challenging to keep up with your networked infrastructure. It can be even more challenging determining which systems are now ineffectual due to the new technology. It is crucial to know the dangers involved in system failure.

There is a higher risk involved with greater connectivity, including data breaches and hacks.  If communications systems fail, security measures also fail - and it doesn't just affect the hospital network. Regional and national information-sharing extends the risk to hospitals and communities all over the country. It is vital to have security measures in place before outages, failures, and security threats take place.  The last thing a hospital needs is untrained staff unknowingly using malware-infected medical devices that don't have intrusion detection mechanisms.

In the case of an emergency, hospital administrators need to be able to account for all personnel. They need to know who's coming and going, when, and what levels of access they have. A communication framework must be set up to protect the hospital's information.  Manual data processing should also be reduced as much as possible to eliminate duplicated spreadsheets and databases.

Unless the right technology is in place, these tasks are not simple. With AtHoc Connect, hospitals can create their own automated, secure, permission-based crisis communication network. Saving lives is the number one goal in a crisis.  To accomplish that, you need all-hands-on-deck in your organization, which means everyone needs to be able to communicate effectively, both internally and externally.

A core leadership team needs to be put in place to ensure the safety off all personnel during a crisis.  The team should have a core security operation that utilizes the best planning for the worst situations.  A hospital can minimize risk by being able to adequately report the status of a wing, technical team, or individual in real-time to account for all people during a crisis.

AtHoc Account establishes interoperable communication with individuals, organizations, call centers, and external third-parties and can be your hospital's single source for accountability information. To learn more about how AtHoc Account can help keep your hospital personnel safe during a crisis, click here.

 Paul Neyman

About Paul Neyman