Buyer's Handbook:

Deploy healthcare cybersecurity tools to protect vital data

The 8 key ways to assess healthcare data security tools

Find the most effective cybersecurity tools to protect healthcare systems and data by looking at these eight key features and what major vendors offer for these features.

Healthcare data security tools are critical for hospitals and other providers to help reduce risks as well as prevent attacks and data breaches. Such security leaks can cause dire financial and legal damage for organizations. But to help successfully address the new threats that healthcare groups regularly face, companies must consider upgrading their cybersecurity tools to better protect themselves against newer and more sophisticated attacks against healthcare data security that involve phishing, spoofing, ransomware and identity theft.

The first step of successful healthcare security is selecting the right set of products to address the specific security gaps an organization may have. As part of the buying process, IT departments should compare different tools based on these eight key areas.

Multi-platform support

Cybersecurity tools such as antivirus, antimalware or anti-ransomware can monitor activities within a device. By comparing the signatures of all processes running within the device's memory, they are able to detect and block any known malicious process. 

Several products have the option to protect different areas within a client's infrastructure. An example would be FireEye Network Threat Prevention Platform, which helps detect and block threats from attacking a network, while Trend Micro endpoint protection focuses on blocking viruses, malware and other malicious code on an endpoint.

For hospitals, one of the best methods is multiple endpoint protection, which covers mobile devices, workstations and servers. There are security systems that specialize in mobile devices and others only in Windows or Mac protections, so health IT will need to identify where they need protection and select the appropriate vendor accordingly.

Cloud management console

As part of the buying process, IT departments should compare different tools based on these eight key areas.

A centralized management portal provides deployment tools with reporting capabilities and additional details on how to configure and manage the software. But since most software vendors have been aiming to reduce the burden of installing and configuring the server side of their products, IT should consider vendors such as Trend Micro Inc., McAfee or DXC Technology. These are some of the few providers that can deliver serverless deployment of their endpoint protection to help reduce the burden of having dedicated servers.

Compliance management

There are a handful of healthcare cybersecurity tools that provide easy-to-use compliance management tools like Microsoft Compliance Manager, Symantec Control Compliance Suite, IBM QRadar Security Intelligence Platform and Cisco Security Manager. These products help hospitals ensure that they are meeting the necessary requirements. But even if a hospital may not require assistance in managing regulatory compliance, it is a feature worth discussing with the cybersecurity tool vendors, because these features can even assist with compliance checklists.

Artificial intelligence

To safeguard against the newer and continually evolving cyberthreats, healthcare data security tools must be able to identify malicious activities by analyzing what's going on within the network or machine and then detecting any anomalies that signal an attack or attempted attack in progress. Artificial intelligence is an essential part of this protection strategy, and while not all protection tools include this type of advanced threat detection, the ones that do, like IBM Security Intelligence Operations and QRadar Advisor with Watson as well as Trend Micro Advanced Threat Detection by Deep Discovery, are all examples of intelligent security platforms able to block more advanced threats that other standard antivirus tools and network monitoring products cannot block.

Email protection

Attackers target email users to gain access to networks through fooling users into clicking links or downloading attachments that provide remote access to hackers or execute malicious code like ransomware. To help defend the email front, health IT buyers should consider cybersecurity tools that offer services for email protections against phishing, spoofing, spam and viruses.  Some of the products available in the marketplace with these capabilities include FireEye Email Threat Prevention Platform and Cisco Email Security.

System vulnerability checks

Another area where health IT can certainly benefit is vulnerability assessment. With the high number of applications and servers in a typical hospital, IT can find it very challenging to keep up with what systems are safe and which have experienced attacks. There are certainly third-party applications such as Nmap, Nessus, network vulnerability assessment services and many others that are available for download. There are also additional vendors that offer assessment tools as well as protection tools like Cisco, IBM, FireEye Inc. and Symantec.

Network monitoring services and proactive alerts

Cyberattacks do not always strike during business hours. Cybercriminals attempt attacks around the clock with email phishing, network device attacks and duplicate websites. For this reason, an effective cybersecurity platform should provide alerts and 24/7 monitoring, even when IT is unavailable. Some of the products that deliver these services are IBM Managed Detection and Response Services, IBM Security Intelligence Operations and Consulting Services, Trend Micro Enterprise Support Services and FireEye Managed Defense.

Anomaly detection and automatic protections

In the past, IT admins would simply lock user accounts after a number of failed login attempts as primary means of protection. But with the increase in number of attacks, health IT needs data security tools that go further to prevent future attacks.

Some of the options include Cisco and SonicWall firewalls that can block IP addresses when the system detects hacking attacks coming from it. Other tools like Microsoft Advanced Threat Protection and Cisco Duo are able to enforce multifactor authentication when they detect anomalies in the user's access or attempted access into the system.

Cybersecurity will continue to be a top priority for healthcare groups all over.  While healthcare organizations have several options to choose from, they must be careful to pick the right system so they have the necessary protection without interruptions in worker and system productivity. This means that investing time to compare the different options is a worthy endeavor to ensure that the platform they opt for will address all their very critical data security and compliance needs.

Editor's note: With extensive research into the cybersecurity market, TechTarget editors have focused this series of articles on vendors with considerable market presence that offer security platforms targeted for healthcare organizations. Our research included Gartner, Forrester Research and TechTarget surveys.

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