Mobile healthcare, telemedicine, telehealth, BYOD

Devices & Hardware News

Why Mobile Security Risks are Healthcare’s Biggest Liability

By Vera Gruessner

- As companies and healthcare organizations around the country adopt mobile devices into their everyday workflow, certain risks become greater with the constant accumulation of data. Mobile security risks are high across the healthcare industry due to ongoing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies being implemented in hospitals and clinics.

Bring Your Own Device

In efforts to better address mobile security risks, the Journal of AHIMA details how healthcare organizations should follow best practices for information governance. With the high amounts of data flowing into medical facilities via mobile devices, wearables, fitness trackers, and mHealth applications, better management of this health information is vital when attempting to minimize mobile security risks.

There are specific actions that must be followed when establishing information governance in the healthcare setting. This varies from prioritizing finance and investment to creating policies, protecting information assets, and resolving accountability.

“In the context of litigation, IG (information governance) must encompass the means to deal with litigation that is either in process or reasonably anticipated when the duty to preserve relevant information arises,” the Journal of AHIMA stated. “IG is important in this context, as a healthcare provider cannot preserve anything appropriately unless the provider knows what information they have, where the information is, and how to preserve the information correctly. All of these things are necessary for effective IG as it relates to legal considerations for a provider.”

It is also important for companies and medical establishments to understand that mobile devices lead to one of the biggest security risks for an institution, according to Check Point Software’s 2015 Security Report.

Essentially, mobile security risks are high because mHealth tools offer hackers “easier direct access to more valuable organizational assets than any other intrusion point.” For example, the research report found that if an organization has 2,000 mobile devices used in the workplace, there is a 50 percent chance that at least six of the devices have encountered data breaches.

A poll conducted by the software company shows that 72 percent of IT vendors believe securing corporate information is the most difficult mobile security issue while 67 percent stated that managing mobile devices that store personal and company data is a major challenge.

Additionally, the potential issue of data loss needs to be addressed throughout the corporate culture and among the healthcare industry, the report found. For instance, as many as 81 percent of the polled organizations encountered a data loss incidence, which is troublesome when considering the privacy and vulnerability associated with patient data.

“Today’s cybercriminals are sophisticated and ruthless: they prey on the weaknesses in a network, approaching any security layer as an open invitation to try to hack it. In order to protect themselves against attacks, security professionals and organizations alike must understand the nature of the latest exploits and how their networks are potentially impacted,” Amnon Bar-Lev, president of Check Point Software Technologies, stated in the company press release.

“Only by arming themselves with a combination of knowledge and strong security solutions can organizations truly protect themselves against these evolving threats. By making that security a critical asset to your business, you can turn security into an enabler. And in doing so, you’re able to unlock innovation and foster an environment for high performance and productivity.”

As the healthcare industry continues to implement new technologies including mobile devices like smartphones, tablets, and wearables, it grows more important to continue addressing mobile security risks and developing data protection programs along with information governance policies. When patient data is secure, healthcare organizations will garner greater trust and ensure higher quality care.


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