The medical industry in North America and abroad faces a largely uphill battle when it comes to network and data security, especially as so many breaches have impacted these organizations in the past several years. In fact, the Identity Theft Resource Center’s annual report revealed that the health care sector was responsible for the largest number of breaches in 2013 with 267, which led to more than 4.6 million records being compromised.

Although the financial services and retail sectors are at risk of experiencing significant collateral damage after a breach occurs, nothing can truly compare to the sensitivity of patient records, as these files will often dictate the types of care physicians offer patients in need. As such, medical organizations need to ensure that they are taking all of the necessary steps to better protect their networks, data and patients, which can be done with more advanced authentication and access control technology.

First, the problem
One of the more substantial issues health care organizations face that leads to vulnerabilities is the high volume and wide variety of new technologies entering the infrastructure with the passing of each year. This can sometimes lead to disjointed internal management of all systems, networks and users, as well as poor optimization of the tools in place.

However, when patches have not been made and systems are not properly configured, the real threat lies in the creation of vulnerabilities which cybercriminals can target to compromise and steal information. This problem becomes even more confounded when considering the popularity of BYOD and telehealth, as well as the rising prevalence of mobile devices well outside the normal scope of corporate mobility.

Security must be the main focus when deploying any new type of technology, and health care providers can kill two birds with one stone by using cutting edge multi-factor authentication solutions that protect systems while bolstering the user experience.

Benefits of multi-factor authentication
User error and employee misuse have been found to be the leading causes of data breach among organizations, and this is especially true for health care providers. However, creating systems that are too difficult to access can lead to even more issues. With that in mind, here are two key benefits of using multi-factor authentication in the health care industry:

  • Natural user experience: Multi-factor authentication replaces the traditional password for device, app and network access control. Considering just how rarely organizations use password protection properly and the relative inefficiency of doing so, authentication can improve physician productivity while not putting devices and data at risk.
  • Safer data: Patient information is one of the favorite targets of many cyber criminals today, especially as it can be used in such a wide variety of dangerous fashions. Authentication has been found to significantly reduce the risk of data leakage and general vulnerabilities, keeping the hackers at bay better than antiquated solutions.

Novel technology demands more modernized approach to patient protection and data security, and authentication represents one of the most advanced ways to ensure defense in a rapidly evolving IT landscape.