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IoMT and the Necessity for Cybersecurity

Cyber-security: a continuous mission to supervise, support, and evolve data protection. Healthcare providers remain aware and proactive in regards to cyber-attacks or malware that feature threats to patient records, and internal documents. By continuously remaining alert, healthcare organizations can confirm their IoMT networks are secure.

What is Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)?

IoMT features a grid of medical objects, primed to assist in the process of keeping individuals safe and healthy. These medical things form a connected network by using built-in sensors to gather real time data and then provide practitioners the ability to implement data-driven decisions upon the information collected.

“The IoMT can help monitor, inform and notify not only care-givers, but provide healthcare providers with actual data to identify issues before they become critical or to allow for earlier invention,” according to an article by Forbes.com

Why a Necessity for Cyber-security?

Currently, there are 3.7 million medical devices and wearables in use that are connected to and monitor numerous parts of the body to update healthcare decisions. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and IoMT continue to assist people make health communication simple and organize valuable data for analysis of disease.

However, with heightened usage partnered with incredible quantities of personal data, the issue of cyber-security breaches is at an all time high.

Digital security in the healthcare field is currently in critical condition. A data breach results in so much more than just a financial loss, but also losing the sense of security in your patients and employees.

Cases of hacking, frequent reporting of data malware, and cyber-attacks have created a sense of havoc in smaller hospitals and healthcare companies. In fact, 95 percent of healthcare institutions have reported some form of cyber-attack.

“There are millions of medical devices susceptible to cyber-attacks and often times, we are wearing these networked technologies or even have them embedded in our bodies. Furthermore, attackers are also trying to manipulate device functionality. This can lead to life-threatening cyber-attacks on devices ranging from monitors and infusion pumps, to ventilators and radiological technologies.”

Article from Healthitsecurity.com

For example, “In May 2017, a substantial ransomware attack containing the WannaCry virus shut down operations at 48 healthcare provider establishments across the United Kingdom. One month later, a comparable attack required a number of U.S. hospitals to postpone surgeries and other patient care.” Dozens of similar ransomware cyber-attacks have been described at all types of healthcare providers, large and small, across the nation.

Obviously, the continued use of IoMT will not go away due to next-generation health monitoring and analysis. As the digital transformation trend picks up the pace, healthcare providers must understand that the IoMT introduces a new network of information accessibility and therefore, a new chance of a security breach.

What Can You Do?

Sadly, there isn’t a one size fits all solution for an enhanced level of cyber-security. Healthcare companies need to establish a set of safety enhancements to lower cyber threat levels. Some particular enhancements of safety protocols could include:

  • Practicing diligent cyber cleansing to make sure software patching and updating processes are at the highest speed and extremely thorough.
  • Reinforcing the network segmentation to inforce a system firewall to incorporate institute checks and policies at various network points to control users, and data flow
  • Incorporate advanced threat intelligence to detect intrusions before it is too late. The threat intelligence can detect and possibly eliminate tactics and operatives directed at exploiting vulnerabilities in a network, and then offer solutions to fix the error and attack “access point”

Cyber-security is a serious project to be continuously monitored, promoted, and adapted. Healthcare providers must create a solution for cyber-attacks that feature threat detection and threat prevention to protect records, preserve privacy of patients, and guarantee their IoMT networks are secure.

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