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Healthcare facilities need holistic digital identity strategy, Imprivata research reveals



As more healthcare facilities take steps to strengthen their security posture, protecting against all cyber threats hasn’t been easy. Healthcare facilities are struggling with implementing and enforcing holistic digital identity management strategies, according to the new Imprivata report released today titled, Security and Digital Identity in the Healthcare Industry.

The findings show that despite 69 per cent of respondents saying identity management is important to their organisation’s security strategy, 51 per cent have still experienced a security incident in the last year.

Imprivata, the digital identity company for mission and life-critical industries partnered with research firm WBR Insights to survey 200 security leaders at healthcare companies across the US and UK.

The results shed light on how healthcare organisations like hospitals, clinics, and medical systems are approaching security risks.

Responses indicate that healthcare organisations have made significant progress in protecting their systems from cyberattacks and data breaches, with over 75 per cent claiming their security strategy has become more robust and comprehensive.

However, the fact that more than half (51 per cent) suffered a cybersecurity incident in the past year suggests a different approach is needed to enhance security.

“Healthcare organisations have been put under significant strain, not only by the ongoing pandemic, but by the sheer volume of cyber threats that plague this sector at rates higher than any other,” said Gus Malezis, CEO at Imprivata.

“Now, enterprises must put the right technologies and processes in place to enhance security and prioritise compliance in the face of these rising threats.”

Nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of respondents are currently using compliance, audit, and risk reporting technologies to combat these threats.

However, only half of the respondents surveyed are using multifactor authentication (MFA), a core security technology that requires multiple verification factors to gain access to data and applications.

Other critical identity and access management solutions that are being used by less than half of respondents include single sign-on (46 per cent), privileged access management (PAM) (42 per cent), and role-based provisioning and de-provisioning (35 per cent).

These solutions, including MFA, represent the foundation of a zero-trust architecture (ZTA). High complexity and poor user compliance are cited as top roadblocks to implementation, while 73 per cent said lack of budget is not a challenge for their identity management strategy.

Using one of these solutions is better than none, but the lack of a holistic cyber strategy can leave detrimental gaps and vulnerabilities. Of those that experienced a security incident, 51 per cent cited the incident involved theft of customer personally identifiable information.

While security leaders understand the threats they face, it’s clear they need better, more efficient solutions to break down internal barriers.

“Working with a seasoned partner that understands clinical workflows can help ensure deployment is successful through implementation and beyond,” said Malezis.

Investing in cyber insurance is also one of the highest priorities for healthcare organisations in 2022, according to 39 per cent of respondents.

Over a third (35 per cent) do not currently have cyber insurance, with 39 per cent citing cost as the primary reason. In fact, 70 per cent of respondents with cyber insurance said their insurance premium has increased between 11 per cent and 50 per cent in the past year.

However, healthcare organisations are implementing digital identity solutions to reduce the cost of cyber insurance, with MFA and PAM cited as the most common measures put in place, according to 56 per cent and 40 per cent of respondents, respectively.

From costly cyber insurance to the uptick in cyber incidents i­­n the last year, these trends indicate a holistic digital identity strategy and coordinated solutions are needed to reduce cyber threats and compliance risks while overcoming internal roadblocks to implementation and enforcement.

To read more about how healthcare organisations are approaching security and digital identity, download the full report.

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