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Healthcare Has an Identity Problem

Posted On: January 17, 2017

Topic: IT Hardware

healthcare-technologyThere are now three things we can count on in life: death, taxes, and the fact that your healthcare organization could very likely experience a breach. As healthcare records are increasingly digitized, there are new opportunities for improving patient care — but there is also risk. According to a recent report from the Ponemon Institute, 90% of all healthcare organizations have suffered at least one data breach during the past two years. The total costs of these breaches? 6.2 billion.

The average employee uses up to three devices on a daily basis and healthcare providers expect that they will be able to seamlessly transition between devices. Access to data and systems must be fast to reliably provide real-time answers and run complex medical applications.

Mobility, digitization and the Internet of Things (IoT) can significantly enhance a practitioner's ability to improve communication with patients. But this anywhere, anytime access and sharing creates a security problem when we think about tracking the identities behind these devices. Healthcare organizations must take proactive steps to protect data from the wrong hands and improve cybersecurity measures.

Healthcare IT organizations faces many challenges including:

  • Allowing access to a variety of different users with different access levels
  • Securing both personal and provider-owned mobile devices
  • Enforcing policies to protect patient data
  • Improving productivity by delivering a great user experience
  • Supporting real-time, immediate access to medical applications including voice and video
  • Keeping operational costs low and simplifying IT management

How Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) Can Help

In order to maintain security, every person interacting with the provider network needs a digital identity that is authenticated in real-time so that any unusual activity is flagged immediately. Cisco ISE enforces security policies and contains threats and protects sensitive patient data. ISE includes the following features:

  1. Centralized control over the level of user access based on business role to provide a consistent network access policy for end users no matter if they connect through a wired or wireless network or VPN. This means that a medical technician is granted different access privileges than a physician, which is different than a hospital administrator.
  2. Reduce the number of unknown endpoints with profiling and device profile feed service. IT teams gain greater visibility and more accurate identification of all devices connected to a network.
  3. Dynamic visual workflows means that you can easily simplify and manage the guest experience for easier onboarding and administration through fully customizable branded mobile and desktop guest portals.
  4. Out-of-the-box setup, self-service device onboarding and management, internal device certificate management, and integrated enterprise mobility management (EMM) partner software speeds BYOD and enterprise mobility.
  5. Construct software-defined segmentation policies to contain network threats and dynamically segment access without the complexity of multiple VLANs or the need to redesign the network.

Many healthcare providers have already benefitted from Cisco ISE, including Banner Health, a healthcare provider that runs 29 hospitals in Arizona and six other states and employs more than 47,000 people. Banner Health was endeavoring to provide modern healthcare to patients while also securing their patient privacy and data. As a result of partnering with OneNeck IT Solutions, Banner Health now has comprehensive network security policies for both corporate and non-corporate owned devices. Cisco Systems Identity Services Engine (ISE) was an integral part of the OneNeck solution and included licensing for 30,000 devices.

Interested in reading the full Banner Health ISE story? Download it here.