Healthcare facilities need a more-holistic digital identity strategy

1-Jul-2022

Imprivata research reveals uncoordinated solutions are threatening the NHS’s digital ambitions, with less than half of organisations using key security systems

As more healthcare facilities take steps to strengthen their security posture, protecting against all cyber threats hasn’t been easy.

But healthcare facilities are struggling with implementing and enforcing holistic digital identity management strategies, according to the new Imprivata report released today entitled, Security and Digital Identity in the Healthcare Industry.

The findings show that despite 69% of respondents saying identity management is important to their organisation’s security strategy, 51% have still experienced a security incident in the last year.

Imprivata partnered with research firm, WBR Insights, to survey 200 security leaders at healthcare companies across the US and UK.

And the results shed light on how healthcare organisations like hospitals, clinics, and medical systems are approaching security risks.

Responses indicate that healthcare organisations have made significant progress in protecting their systems from cyber attacks and data breaches, with over 75% claiming their security strategy has become more robust and comprehensive.

However, the fact that more than half (51%) suffered a cyber security incident in the past year suggests a different approach is needed to enhance security.

While security leaders understand the threats they face, it’s clear they need better, more-efficient solutions to break down internal barriers

“Healthcare organisations have been put under significant strain, not only by the ongoing pandemic, but by the sheer volume of cyber threats that plague this sector at rates higher than any other,” said Gus Malezis, chief executive at Imprivata.

“Now, While security leaders understand the threats they face, it’s clear they need better, more-efficient solutions to break down internal barriers.”

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of respondents are currently using compliance, audit, and risk reporting technologies to combat these threats.

However, only half of the respondents surveyed are using multifactor authentication (MFA), a core security technology that requires multiple verification factors to gain access to data and applications.

Other critical identity and access management solutions that are being used by less than half of respondents include single sign-on (46%), privileged access management (PAM) (42%), and role-based provisioning and de-provisioning (35%).

These solutions, including MFA, represent the foundation of a zero-trust architecture (ZTA).

High complexity and poor user compliance are cited as top roadblocks to implementation, while 73% said lack of budget is not a challenge for their identity management strategy.

Using one of these solutions is better than none, but the lack of a holistic cyber strategy can leave detrimental gaps and vulnerabilities, said Malezis.

And, of those that experienced a security incident, 51% cited the incident involved theft of customer personally identifiable information.

Malezis adds: “While security leaders understand the threats they face, it’s clear they need better, more-efficient solutions to break down internal barriers.

“Working with a seasoned partner that understands clinical workflows can help ensure deployment is successful through implementation and beyond.”

From costly cyber insurance to the uptick in cyber incidents i¬¬n the last year, these trends indicate a holistic digital identity strategy and co-ordinated solutions are needed to reduce cyber threats and compliance risks while overcoming internal roadblocks to implementation and enforcement

Investing in cyber insurance is also one of the highest priorities for healthcare organisations in 2022, according to 39% of respondents.

Over a third (35%) do not currently have cyber insurance, with 39% citing cost as the primary reason. In fact, 70% of respondents with cyber insurance said their insurance premium has increased between 11%-50% in the past year.

But healthcare organisations are implementing digital identity solutions to reduce the cost of cyber insurance, with MFA and PAM cited as the most-common measures put in place, according to 56% and 40% of respondents, respectively.

Malezis said: “From costly cyber insurance to the uptick in cyber incidents i¬¬n the last year, these trends indicate a holistic digital identity strategy and co-ordinated solutions are needed to reduce cyber threats and compliance risks while overcoming internal roadblocks to implementation and enforcement.”

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