Health Industry BYOD Security is Now Easy to Manage

CISOs and CIOs are realizing that mobile phone use in healthcare is as essential. Healthcare professionals use the devices when they are not working, and they want to continue to get the benefits when the go to work.

The speed at which mobile devices can be used to communicate with others; access information; schedule meetings; and receive advice makes most healthcare communication systems seem positively prehistoric.

BYOD schemes have been adopted by many healthcare providers, who have given in to the demands of physicians, and are now enjoying the benefits: Increased productivity, cost savings, happier staff and improved patient outcomes.

The Health Industry BYOD Security Challenge

The main issue faced by healthcare providers is how to make mobile devices secure while ensuring full mobility of data. Mobile technology allows healthcare workers to connect to healthcare systems from any location, at any time of the day. By having information available when it is needed, medical services can be provided more efficiently and productivity increases. This is what healthcare professionals are calling for: They want full data mobility and they want it now. Only then will the full benefits of BYOD be gained.

Many Healthcare BYOD Security Solutions Exist

For the health industry, BYOD security is a challenge, but with careful planning it need not be a nightmare. Smaller healthcare providers with limited IT staff can outsource security services to Business Associates providing the full range of security services. However, in-house management of BYOD schemes can also be implemented cheaply and easily. A host of mobile management solutions exist that make device control straightforward. It is now possible to keep track of BYOD devices and remotely control them. BYOD management no longer takes up a huge amount of time and resources.

New Technologies that can Improve Healthcare Mobile Data Security

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Technologies

The most important security measure to implement is one that ensures data cannot be lost under any circumstances. Devices may be lost, stolen, or hacked, but any stored data cannot be destroyed. Data must be treated as a healthcare organization’s most valuable asset.

Data must be encrypted in transit to prevent interception, regular backups must be performed, data must be stored remotely, and restoration procedures must be tested to ensure that backed up data can actually be recovered.

DLP technologies can be used in this regard. They protect against data loss, interception and sabotage. It is possible to monitor data traffic algorithms and set rules to block traffic that matches pre-defined criteria, while intrusion prevention services protect resources and internal networks.

Secure File Sharing and Protected Information Zones

The secure sharing of large files, especially those containing Protected Health Information (PHI), is seen as a problem for many healthcare providers. Services such as Dropbox can be difficult to manage, and other cloud storage solutions are problematic because healthcare providers must know where data is at all times. Many cloud services simply do not offer sufficient security controls, but a growing number now do.

File transfer protocol (FTP)-based sharing has now been replaced by more secure methods of data sharing, which allow data to be hosted inside a healthcare providers network, while offering the full benefits of a cloud based solution. Many companies are now offering platforms that allow this, while incorporating the necessary protections demanded by HIPAA.

Learning Engines and Application Firewalls

Security technologies now place less reliance on downloaded security updates. They are able to learn about application use and implement data security controls as necessary, reducing the man-hours required to monitor and respond to cybersecurity threats.

Application firewalls can be used to prevent attacks, with the software learning about typical application use and applying controls to prevent any unusual requests from being granted.

Desktop and Software Virtualization

It is no longer necessary to install software on a portable device. All that is required is a secure connection to a network. All data can then be accessed, viewed and if necessary, altered remotely via that channel. If a device is lost or stolen, no data is exposed. Access to the data can be switched off as soon as the loss of a device is reported.

Virtual desktops can be created for use on devices that offer users a familiar interface, while all data can be easily secured. The server can be located within a healthcare provider’s network, or anywhere in fact. This also allows traffic to be easily controlled, software and security updates to be easily managed and for secure links to be created between data centers.

Secure Text Messaging Solutions

SMS messages are used by the majority of Smartphone users to communicate with friends, family, and colleagues. However, at work, any text message containing PHI will violate HIPAA rules unless the message is encrypted. Healthcare workers often use SMS messages and other insecure communication channels, such as WhatsApp, to communicate quickly with other members of staff.

A secure healthcare messaging app offers a fast, convenient, and secure method of communicating work matters, and incorporate the necessary protections to ensure HIPAA Rules are not violated. A failure to install a secure text messaging solution will result in numerous HIPAA violations being caused.

Author: Richard Anderson

Richard Anderson is the Editor-in-Chief of