How to use edge computing to combat cyberattacks

Organizations can reduce the risk of malicious cyber attacks by deploying advanced computing systems.

The rapid spread of the Internet of Things (IOT) across the healthcare industry has brought with it unprecedented advantages of data access and analysis, as well as new classes of operational risks. On the other hand, healthcare professionals can benefit from innovations such as “big data” and edge computing To make faster and more accurate decisions. On the other hand, as more connected IoT devices spread across the healthcare facility, the surface of potential cyber attacks for hackers – who incite operational disruptions and demand ransom payments – is expanding.

according to Ponemon Institute, 75% of global healthcare organizations have experienced cyber-attacks. The HiPAA Journal Online It also reported that in 2020, US healthcare facilities experienced a 25% increase in cyber breaches compared to the previous year. As a result, many healthcare facility operators recognize the need to redouble their efforts to protect patients, staff, medical equipment assets, IT equipment, and operational infrastructure such as power, cooling, and ventilation systems from cyberattacks.

Sophisticated computing as a strategy to combat cyber attacks

One of the innovative ways in which hospital staff can reduce the risk of malicious cyber attacks is through the deployment of advanced computing systems. Edge computing can take many forms, but in general it usually consists of local computing via distributed servers, sensors, and/or micro data centersas well as other devices that can work independently or with the cloud.

In traditional settings, hospitals collect data in a large, central, local data center, and operators hope that the data will remain self-contained and not exposed to potential hackers. However, data is generated and collected on the perimeter of the data center – for example, in nursing stations, radiology departments, and operating rooms – and protecting that data on its way to the central data center can be problematic. Also, most current hospital systems do not use modeling or artificial intelligence to try to predict where cybersecurity gaps will be. One of the unique advantages of edge computing is the ability to analyze data near the source of data generation so that cybersecurity threats can be quickly detected and mitigated.

The benefits of edge computing also include bandwidth savings, real-time processing of local data, reduced operational expenses, reduced network latency, and improved patient safety. Healthcare IT departments are finding that the benefits of edge computing far outweigh the potential drawbacks (such as more management systems and cybersecurity protection).

IT departments that lack staff may struggle to keep up with evolving computing maintenance activities such as infrastructure monitoring. That’s why most of them gravitate towards deploying remotely managed security and environmental monitoring solutions for their high-end deployments.

Edge systems are distributed — separate departments such as energy management, HVAC, planning systems, medical equipment, resources, and building automation can each have their own edge system — so it becomes much easier, from a cybersecurity perspective, to segment the different networks. This network layer is important for security because it is where devices communicate and transform data into information that facilitates accurate and fast decision making.

The practice of network segmentation, in the context of cybersecurity, involves building protective virtual fences by dividing hospital networks into zones so that, in the event of a breach, damage is limited to the subnet rather than the entire network. In a network fragmentation scenario, if a hacker successfully attacked an old Windows server running BMS, for example, upstream analytics and individual downstream devices would still be protected.

New generation products and edge system management tools also enhance cybersecurity

One of the best ways to manage sophisticated computing systems is to deploy remote monitoring software. For example, software packages such as Schneider Electric package EcoStruxure IT Automatically and regularly collect critical infrastructure sensor values ​​and send that data to a central data lake in the cloud. This data is then combined with data collected from thousands of other Schneider Electric customer sites.

Once in the data lake, the behavior of the assets is compared across many brands of equipment and multiple locations. All actions taken in response to alarms are tracked using data on equipment behavior before and after the accident. This output provides a clear record of the actions and their results, both positive and negative. This data pool link provides a deeper understanding of the root causes of problems. It can generate predictive reports that advise operators on actions to take before problems lead to unexpected downtime.

There is a shortage of skilled IT staff, particularly in smaller rural hospitals, so many healthcare facility operators turn to managed service providers (MSPs) who are trained and have the level of expertise needed for remote monitoring of IT, power and cooling. By using monitoring technology, they can reduce the need to travel on site for troubleshooting, thus saving overall maintenance costs. They can also implement predictive maintenance practices by capturing warning signs of anomalies (such as indoor temperatures exceeding preset thresholds or behavioral deviations) and addressing issues before they lead to an unexpected downtime.

Additionally, when selecting high-end hardware and software products, look for solutions that are developed and manufactured using a Secure Development Lifecycle (SDL) approach. Product managers and engineers perform secure architecture reviews, test potential threats by modeling conceptual security design, follow secure coding rules, use specialized tools to analyze code and perform security testing for each product. These measures help “strengthen” products, making them more resilient to cyberattacks. This way, as new products replace the old, entire systems evolve to become more secure online.

Learn more about low cybersecurity risks

To learn more about how remote monitoring and management solutions help healthcare IT teams better support evolving systems and help combat cybersecurity threats, visit EcoStruxure IT web page.

This guest blog is part of Channel Futures sponsorship.

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