In a recent Advisor, we explored why cybersecurity remains a perpetual concern and challenge. This Advisor continues that conversation by looking at what we can do to address these threats.
Security Technology Solutions
Technologies and approaches such as authentication and access control, encryption, data anonymization, mobile device security, monitoring and auditing, artificial intelligence (AI), and zero trust should all be used to fight off cyberattacks.
Authentication establishes or confirms that claims made by the subject are authentic. It secures access to an organization’s network by verifying user identities to ensure the user (or device) is who he/she/it claims to be. Authentication and access control ensure users can perform only the activities for which they have permission.
Data encryption is an efficient means of preventing the exposure of sensitive data to adversaries. It can protect data throughout the data lifecycle, from the data source to the endpoint (including mobile devices used by clinicians and administrators), and into the cloud. It can also prevent breaches resulting from the theft of storage devices.
Data anonymization is a data sanitation technique. It preserves private or confidential information by deleting it or replacing it with identifiers that link individuals and their health data. Data masking is a popular approach to data anonymization. Sensitive data elements are replaced with an unidentifiable value, known as “masked value.” It de-identifies data sets or masks personal identifiers.
Securing medical devices, wearable devices, and mobile devices requires a unique mix of best practices and technologies. Medical devices are of particular concern as more of them become connected to hospital and physician-practice networks.
Security monitoring involves gathering data about network events for later investigation. It includes data collection from network device logs and event information, data integration, data analysis, and interpretation. The data interpretation module presents visual and statistical information that helps IT professionals predict network behaviors and generate responses to security incidents.
Security auditing is a systematic evaluation of the security of an organization’s information system. It assesses how well it conforms to an established set of criteria and helps determine compliance with applicable regulations.
Security can be enhanced by embracing AI in several ways. IT security professionals can employ AI for activities like monitoring, threat hunting, and incident response. AI can detect nuanced adversarial attacks, enhance data-driven decision making during threat hunts, uncover previously undetectable device tampering, and quantify the risks associated with current IT system vulnerabilities. It can also be used for behavioral analytics, threat intelligence, ransomware attack detection, smart identity governance, online fraud detection, and risk assessment. A note of caution, though: hackers also can make use of AI to advance and strengthen cyber threats.
Zero-trust security models improve identity management and enhance data and network security. They help security teams better understand who wants to use the network and what they want to access before allowing access. Other common security measures include:
Keeping systems and applications updated
Enforcing strong passwords
Implementing multifactor authentication
Setting up automatic, frequent, offsite data backup
Conducting regular security risk and vulnerability assessments
Evaluating and ensuring the security and privacy compliance of all business associates
A recent Amplify article outlines how even in the changing landscape of cloud computing, automation, and AI, you can improve your security posture by doing the basics well.
Part III of this series will look at growing cybersecurity career opportunities and examine the security of the digital future.