Identity and Access Management on Healthcare Data Security: Healthcare organizations store much private information, from medical diagnoses to payment insurance details. This data is a big draw for cybercriminals, who can sell it on the black market or use it to commit financial fraud or identity theft.
Historically, hackers would need to break into doctors’ offices or hack through file cabinets to get their hands on sensitive information. But today, patients can provide personal information to their healthcare providers digitally.
4 Valuable Impact of Identity and Access Management on Healthcare Data Security
1) Access Control
As with many other industries, healthcare increasingly relies on IT systems and digital connectivity to work effectively and efficiently. These systems create access points that hackers can compromise.
A cyberattack could wreak havoc on a hospital’s IT system, wipe data, or even hold the company hostage for ransom until an undisclosed sum is paid. As a result, attacks on hospitals have spiked in recent years.
Authentication, identity management, and strong access control can help limit the impact of such an attack. By implementing IAM, healthcare organizations can set appropriate access controls for each role. For example, the information that a billing specialist needs may differ from that of a physician. IAM for healthcare also enables organizations to ensure that only the right people have the right information. This helps prevent unauthorized personnel from accessing sensitive or confidential data. It also helps ensure that patients’ medical records are kept safe and secure.
2) Data Encryption
Protecting sensitive data is crucial to healthcare business success. But, many healthcare organizations haven’t adopted proper cybersecurity protocols, which makes them a target for hackers. Healthcare businesses must encrypt the ePHI (electronic patient health information) they transmit between patients, providers, and partners. This will ensure that unauthorized parties can’t read the data. This helps to prevent HIPAA fines that could result from a data breach.
IAM can also help to thwart hackers by verifying the identity of users at each step of a process or log-in. This helps to eliminate the need for patients to provide their identity details multiple times, which can be frustrating and time-consuming. Instead, they can use their IAM credentials to log in to a healthcare system and complete tasks such as filling out an admissions form or booking an appointment with a doctor.
Healthcare organizations work in a complicated environment with many different entities. These include hospitals, providers, insurance companies, billing services, regulatory agencies, and patients. Many entities have strict privacy rules and regulations, such as HIPAA.
IAM can help to keep these complex rules and regulations in place by implementing security policies at the identity management level that ensure data is only accessible by authorized users. This includes enforcing multi-factor authentication, verifying user identities, and limiting access to data.
Authentication is especially important in healthcare, where doctors and other employees are constantly on the go (like field nurses or telehealth workers). A good IAM solution will support single sign-on to cloud and SaaS applications so that users only have to verify their identity once on any device.
It can also enable privileged access management, allowing admins to access critical systems and information with single credentials. This is particularly helpful for healthcare services that must comply with regulatory laws, such as the HITECH Act and the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Healthcare networks don’t operate in a vacuum, as patients and caregivers collaborate with doctors and hospitals. This interconnectedness broadens the attack surface and makes healthcare a priority for hackers, whether because it’s an opportunity to steal patient data or to disrupt care.
Using identity management to centralize authentication reduces the number of login points for physicians and other healthcare staff, which reduces the chances of a credential being compromised. A single sign-on (SSO) solution connects users to all on-premise, cloud, and SaaS applications through a secure login.
Authentication solutions should use adaptive and contextual attributes, user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA), and trust assessment to verify identities before granting access. This type of access control, based on the principle of least privilege, helps stop bad actors when they breach a healthcare network. It’s also necessary to comply with HIPAA, EPCS, and other industry regulations.