Healthcare IT: How Interoperability Makes Penetration Testing Even More Important

Healthcare organizations within every medical specialty continue to expand, making interoperability a top priority for physicians, providers, and patients. As healthcare facilities’ IT systems and digital infrastructures grow, interoperability enables seamless care and coverage, both on an individual and community level. As a result, providers, administrators, and stakeholders find themselves working on a nearly full-time basis to coordinate service across a multitude of healthcare environments on a national scale. As healthcare organizations continue to increase interoperability, penetration testing yields several significant benefits.

Network Security a Top Concern for Healthcare as Interoperability of Technology Increase

Unfortunately, as interoperability initiatives increase, IT teams across the country find themselves facing major cybersecurity and data loss prevention concerns. Interoperability initiatives and data exchanges widen the attack surface, which benefits attackers. Without proper testing, exploitable vulnerabilities that are introduced by interoperability could go unidentified. To protect their organization and achieve data loss prevention throughout the interoperability process, healthcare IT leaders are relying on frequent simulated penetration testing conducted by 3rd party experts to identify the exploitability of vulnerabilities within their environment before the attackers.

Penetration Testing Helps Secure Healthcare IT Assets Throughout Interoperability Growth

Penetration testing, also known as pen-testing, is utilized to identify vulnerabilities and the impact they’d have on the organization if successfully exploited. Getting disparate IT systems to communicate requires both ends to “speak the same language” over the same mediums, which means even if technology on one end is secure, the lowest common security controls may prevail, for integration purposes, since the alternative is not allowing those systems to communicate. Vulnerabilities may be introduced by interoperability features that require downgrading standards. Consistent penetration testing from an outside cybersecurity resource can help provide a critical set of “second eyes,” to identify potential risks as quickly as possible as well as:

Ensure New Technology Is Safe

Healthcare IT departments are continuously implementing new technologies to assist with their interoperability objectives. Unfortunately, sometimes recently integrated innovations can cause system gaps and vulnerabilities. Penetration testing can help identify potential cybersecurity issues with newer systems and platforms before they are implemented into an existing system. The testing is designed to venture into the potentially scary unknown of new technology to find the bugs that developers miss, helping IT teams save time, money, and resources.

Maintain Compliance

HIPAA Administrative Safeguards mandate that covered entities or business associates must conduct periodic technical and nontechnical evaluations; the legislation explicitly requires periodic Risk Analysis as well as routine control testing. Pen-testing delivers a viable way to assess a healthcare organization’s technical controls and help achieve compliance throughout an evolving technology environment.  

Protect Patient Confidentiality

As a healthcare provider, protecting patient confidentiality is always a primary focus. Unfortunately, even a single data breach can destroy your patients’ trust in your organization to keep their personal records safe, resulting in loss of patronage, revenue, and even potential legal action from patients. Consistent penetration testing can deliver peace of mind to both yor leadership and your patients that your organization is doing everything it can to optimize network security, identify exploitable vulnerabilities and remediate findings.

Validate Existing Process

Penetration testing can also play a vital role in organizations that have never experienced a data breach. Pen-testing will systematically evaluate your existing process to validate your team’s current cybersecurity approach. Additionally, performing consistent penetration testing within your facility also provides early notice to your team, and the opportunity for prompt remediation, if a new exploitable vulnerability does arise.

Improve Security Training For Relevant Staff

Routine pen-testing also delivers real-world training for designated security staff within your healthcare organization. Every exploited vulnerability revealed during a simulated pen-testing engagement provides an ideal opportunity to evaluate capabilities of existing incidents response plan as well as educate security staff, so they are prepared to proactively detect and preemptively respond to similar future threats.Want to hear more about penetration testing as part of your interoperability initiatives? Contact Fortified Health Security today.