December 25, 2023

Why Mobile Device Security in Healthcare Has Never Been More Important

It’s every healthcare administrator’s worst nightmare. Hackers break into your organization’s system and compromise the sensitive information of thousands, maybe even millions of patients.

For leaders and organizations worried about such a threat, a new report from cybersecurity firm Critical Insight has some good news and some bad news.

The good news is that the overall number of data breaches reported by healthcare organizations fell slightly in the first half of 2023. The bad news? The size of these breaches is growing. According to Critical Insight, “individual health records compromised in data breaches surged by 31%” compared to the back half of 2022. Couple that with a 2023 Cyber Threat Report from SonicWall that shows healthcare was the second-most targeted industry for malware attacks in 2021 and 2022, and it’s clear that cybersecurity is a massive issue for healthcare organizations.

So, what is the best course of action? There are many ways you can improve your organization’s cybersecurity efforts, but one important area you don’t want to overlook is the security of your mobile devices. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the risks that lost or stolen devices pose to healthcare organizations, as well as how implementing a thorough device management system can mitigate those risks and protect you and your patients.

The Risks of Lost or Stolen Devices

For all the convenience and connectivity that mobile devices offer, their portability and the sheer volume of devices used in the average healthcare facility create opportunities for these devices to fall into the wrong hands. All it takes is one busy or distracted employee leaving a device unattended in a public space, and your healthcare organization could soon have a serious privacy breach on its hands.

Here are just some of the critical risks associated with lost or stolen mobile devices in healthcare organizations:

  • Data Breaches: One of the most significant risks is the potential for a data breach. Mobile devices used by healthcare professionals may contain patient records, medical history, treatment plans, and other sensitive information. If these devices are compromised, it can lead to unauthorized access to patient data, which may be exploited for identity theft, fraud, or other malicious purposes.
  • Regulatory Violations: Healthcare organizations in the United States are subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). And in the European Union, organizations must follow the requirements outlined by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). When a mobile device with patient data is lost or stolen, it can result in HIPAA or GDPR violations if proper safeguards and encryption measures are not in place to protect the data. This can result in heavy fines and serious legal consequences.
  • Loss of Trust: Patients trust healthcare organizations to protect their sensitive information. A data breach resulting from a lost or stolen mobile device can erode this trust, leading to reputational damage and a loss of confidence in the organization’s ability to safeguard patient data.
  • Disruption of Healthcare Services: Mobile devices are essential tools for accessing patient records and making critical decisions about patient care. When a device is lost or stolen, it can disrupt healthcare services, potentially leading to delays, errors, and compromised patient care.
  • Financial Impact: Addressing the fallout from a lost or stolen mobile device can be costly. This includes not only the potential fines and legal expenses but also the cost of notifying affected patients, providing credit monitoring services, and implementing security measures to prevent future incidents.

While the risks are many and serious, there are some immediate steps you can take to protect your organization, including implementing robust security measures and training staff on security best practices. But perhaps one of the most impactful things you can do to safeguard your mobile devices is creating a strong Mobile Device Management system.

How Mobile Device Management Can Transform Healthcare Security

Mobile Device Management (MDM) refers to the administration of mobile devices used in organizational settings, such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops. MDM involves deploying, monitoring, and managing mobile devices to ensure they operate securely and efficiently within an organization’s IT infrastructure.

Here are some key reasons why having a solid MDM system in place is crucial for healthcare organizations:

  • Patient Data Security: Healthcare organizations deal with sensitive patient data that must be protected to comply with regulations like HIPAA. MDM systems enforce security policies, such as encryption and strong passwords, to safeguard patient information on mobile devices.
  • Device Configuration and Standardization: MDM systems enable healthcare organizations to configure and standardize device settings across the network. This ensures that all devices adhere to the organization’s policies and security standards, reducing the risk of vulnerabilities.
  • Remote Management and Support: In healthcare settings, where immediate access to information is crucial, MDM systems allow for remote management and support of devices. This can include troubleshooting issues, updating software, and configuring settings without the need for physical access to the devices.
  • Lost or Stolen Device Protection: Healthcare professionals often carry mobile devices containing patient data. In the event of a lost or stolen device, MDM systems enable remote tracking, locking, or wiping of the device to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information.
  • App Whitelisting and Blacklisting: MDM systems help control and manage the installation and use of applications on mobile devices. This ensures that only authorized and secure applications are used, minimizing the risk of malware or other security threats.
  • Secure Access: MDM can facilitate secure access to healthcare systems and patient data. It can enforce multi-factor authentication, virtual private network (VPN) connectivity, and other security measures to ensure that only authorized personnel can access sensitive information.
  • Inventory Management: Healthcare organizations often have numerous mobile devices in use. MDM systems help in tracking and managing these devices efficiently, ensuring that they are properly maintained, updated, and retired when necessary.
  • Alerts and Reporting: MDM solutions provide real-time alerts and reporting capabilities, allowing IT staff to quickly identify and respond to security threats or policy violations. This proactive approach helps prevent security incidents from escalating.
  • Cost-Efficiency: Effective MDM can result in cost savings by reducing the likelihood of data breaches, regulatory fines, and the need for expensive incident response measures.

It’s easy to see why every healthcare organization needs a good Mobile Device Management system in place. They offer comprehensive tools and capabilities to enhance security, ensure compliance, and efficiently manage mobile devices in a dynamic and data-sensitive environment.

The question, then, is how to get started. What sort of hardware, accessories, and other tools are required to build a Mobile Device Management system that addresses your organization’s unique needs?

Power Technologies Has You Covered

At Power Technologies, we’re committed to helping hospitals streamline device management so you can focus on what matters most — delivering the highest standard of care possible to the patients you serve. From charging lockers and cabinets to mobile power stations, we have a variety of products that can be configured and adapted to solve the specific device management challenges impacting your organization.

DMS-10: This charging cabinet is designed to manage 10 shared smartphones, keeping them secured, charged, and ready to use when hospital staff need them. This cabinet also includes chemical-free UV-C surface disinfection, which effectively kills 99.9% of infections pathogens from shared devices.

SC-Lockers and CSC-Lockers: Our series of secure lockers offer a secure, centralized location to sanitize (CSC models only), charge, and deploy hospital issued and/or patient personal mobile devices. Locker bay windows provide visibility to which space is available without ever having to touch the screen, and Customized settings and remote administration allow for seamless integration into IT workflow.

CNC-10 and CNC-18: Designed with the highest level of flexibility and versatility in mind, these cabinets offer the ability to configure medical grade stainless steel racks to adapt to devices of varying shapes and sizes. The CNC-10 and CNC-18 are also equipped with UV-C sanitization to keep patients and staff safe as they interact with mobile devices.

Have questions or want to learn more?

We’d love to talk with you about how we can help you build the perfect device management system for your healthcare organization.