Mobile devices in healthcare: how secure are they?

Health-care-devices-need-to-be-secure_459_40106460_0_14117435_300-300x200Trend Micro researchers noted that the future of mobile tech in health care is bright. Wearable devices and technologies driven by the Internet of Things are beginning to contribute to a better health landscape. For instance, these wearables can track fitness levels and even blood sugar for those with diabetes, and they will soon be (or in some cases already are) able to track blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate, among other important metrics.

In addition, Trend Micro researcher David Sancho noted that even more futuristic technologies are on the way, including “lab-on-a-chip drugs,” which are pills or patches that automatically deliver the necessary dosage of a medicine, and smart clothing that could offer a variety of benefits to patients. However, Sancho warned that with the advancements in technology, it’s crucial to make sure these devices are sufficiently protected against data theft.

Security concerns on the rise

Because of the steady growth of mobile devices in health care, it’s important to make sure these devices are secure.

The unique future of health care technologies depends on data security. There could be dire consequences for patients using the aforementioned “lab-on-a-chip drugs,” for instance, if a malicious party were to gain access to their inner workings. These kinds of advanced targeted attacks could spell bad news.

“An attacker’s interception of those drug parameters might be fatal,” Sancho wrote. “Even delaying drug delivery could be bad enough.”

The implication here is that it could be dangerous for too much or too little of a drug to be administered to an unsuspecting patient. Basically, it’s going to be even more important as technology becomes more advanced to ensure these devices are sufficiently protected against hackers and would-be malicious actors.

What are some best practices?

According to InformationWeek, there are a few things to consider when mobile devices are involved in the health care space, including:

  • Device management: Make sure all devices on an organization’s network are accounted for. This includes the strict surveillance of shadow IT.
  • Remote capabilities: Shut down and wipe all devices on a network from a remote location. In this way, unauthorized users can be barred access.
  • Encryption: Protect application data with encryption technology and endpoint protection tools.
  • Employee awareness: Sometimes, the weakest link in any organization’s cyber security is in personnel. Well-intentioned employees share documents or open emails that could open the floodgates for phishing scams and malware. Implementing mobile security training could alleviate some of this concern.

Is there an answer to the mobile security problem?

No doubt as health care tech continues to advance, medical practices will need to find better ways to protect their data and make sure these devices don’t become a dangerous liability. Investing in security solutions can make a difference – especially when it comes to ensuring data protection across a health care enterprise.

Mobile solutions from Trend Micro can help strengthen the security of health care devices.

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