How to mitigate IoMT security risks to keep connected medical devices safe
Technological advances are transforming healthcare by giving medical professionals the tools to streamline clinical workflows and improve patient care. From smart ultrasound scanners to Wi-Fi-enabled insulin pumps, connected medical devices can help facilitate treatments and diagnose issues efficiently and cost-effectively.
As clinicians bring more medical devices online to collect and share data, this Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is becoming integral to modern care. But to take full advantage of these technologies, hospital IT teams must find a way to securely manage these devices with robust IoT cybersecurity plans.
Although these technologies help keep physicians connected with care teams and patients, these devices can also pose serious security threats that leave unprotected hospitals open to cyberattack. Even worse, these data breaches can become a matter of life and death if attackers gain access to critical devices that patients depend on, like pacemakers or morphine infusion pumps.
With more connected devices coming online every day, cybersecurity should be a top priority for hospitals. It’s critical for healthcare providers to understand the potential vulnerabilities and security threats of the devices connected to their networks, so they can take the proper steps to protect their patient data—both now and in the future.
Recognizing IoT cybersecurity threats
Although accessibility and connectivity make IoMT devices convenient to use, it also makes them inherently susceptible to cyberattack. Without embedded security features or network segmentation, connected medical devices can offer sneaky cybercriminals an unguarded pathway straight into a hospital’s database—putting private patient health information at risk.
Many connected medical devices are difficult to patch and expensive to replace, so hospitals often continue using outdated models. Since these devices don’t typically have the same built-in security features as smartphones or laptops, IT teams are often not equipped to monitor traffic activity across an evolving IoMT landscape.
Unsecured legacy IT systems simply can’t keep pace with advancing technology as more and more of these devices find their way onto hospital networks.
Also read: Developing a plan for data protection
Reinforcing medical IoT cybersecurity
As healthcare IT teams juggle various technical challenges every day, they often lose track of just how many devices are accessing their network at any given moment. Importantly, the first step to securing connected medical devices is to gain visibility by taking a comprehensive inventory of all the devices on your network.
Ongoing monitoring and automated alerts can give healthcare organizations an up-to-date view of IoMT traffic and usage—empowering IT teams to evaluate and address emerging threats in real-time. Using AI-enabled analytics can help identify issues promptly, ensuring that only patched and monitored devices can be deployed.
After establishing network visibility, the next step is to implement safeguards like multi-step authentication, stringent password protocols, and network segmentation to prevent potential security threats. With a multifaceted approach to managing endpoint visibility, healthcare organizations can correctly configure their IT infrastructure to mitigate IoT cybersecurity threats.
Future-proofing your IoMT strategy
As IoMT technologies constantly evolve, proactive hospitals must continue to update and adapt their cybersecurity plans. A robust IoT cybersecurity strategy requires a commitment from the top of the organization to regularly audit devices, assess risks, and implement new controls and protocols to keep medical data safe.
The technical engineers at Dynamic Network Advisors partner with leading healthcare organizations to navigate the challenges and security risks of IoMT. By leveraging our industry-leading expertise and ongoing support, hospitals can embrace the unique capabilities of medical IoT while safeguarding connected devices and the patients who use them.
Contact Dynamic Network Advisors to protect your connected medical devices with a robust IoT cybersecurity solution.