Cybercriminals are now focusing their efforts on healthcare organizations. Medical information, including sensitive financial and personal information, is highly sought-after and is worth a lot on the black market. Lacking security makes healthcare organizations prone to cyberattacks and easy targets.
This is not the only problem. Data leaks can occur from the management of these organizations or their network security officers. It is a riskier threat that can work even if security systems are strong.
In order to prevent sensitive information from leaking out of medical organizations, Zero Trust in healthcare is the best option. It prevents unsupervised access to medical systems and limits the total attack surface.
The Rise Of Zero Trust Architecture
Zero Trust Architecture or ZTA is gaining momentum in healthcare organizations with an increasing rate of cyberattacks. For healthcare organizations, the digital transformation has brought connected IT, IoT, OT, and, in particular, IoMT into the spotlight. This innovation has led to an ever-increasing attack surface. Thus, ZTA is the ideal solution to prevent these vulnerabilities.
A zero trust architecture based on NIST SP 800-207
NIST SP 800-207 incorporates multiple vendors in an approach that is vendor-agnostic, with more assistance on the way. Multiple vendors are participating in a forthcoming NIST National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) project to demonstrate practical approaches to zero trust based on SP 800-207 tenets.
To introduce ZTA to a perimeter-based network, NIST SP 800-207 outlines seven steps:
- Analyze the enterprise’s actor
- Identify the enterprise’s assets
- Identify key processes and assess their risk
- Formulate policies for ZTA’s candidate policy enforcement point
- Analyze potential PEP solutions
- Observe deployments
- Enhance the ZTA
Zero Trust Architecture- Pitfalls To Avoid
A lack of attention to network security can allow cybercriminals to exploit vulnerabilities and aid cyberattackers. The following are some pitfalls to avoid when preventing cyberattacks.
Underestimating your digital terrain
The first step toward zero trust is for users and devices to be verified before they are able to access sensitive information. Many organizations are already at the mercy of this first major pitfall: their use case for ZTA assumes the presence of a human and a managed device. Communication between nonhuman entities across hospital networks, data centers, and cloud services is commonplace.
In addition to administrative and clinical IT, there exist many other connected devices in a typical hospital ecosystem across nurses’ stations, surgery centers, patient rooms, laboratories, and pharmacies. Most of which manage sensitive personal health records (PHR) and are thus vulnerable to cyberattacks.
To accommodate them, you will probably need to redesign and possibly fork your ZTA without accounting for your entire digital terrain upfront.
Getting started with the PEP
In zero trust, every time a device attempts to connect to your network, it must go through the same verification process. First, a PDP (policy decision point) determines the trust level, and then, a PEP (policy enforcement point) determines whether least-privileged access should be granted or denied.
It is too common for healthcare organizations to skip Step 5 of the NIST guide, which is vendor evaluation. In case you start more than halfway through the process, the PEP vendors will try to convince you that they are all you need for zero trust.
Each of the first four steps is necessary to identify and classify everything that traverses multiple boundaries and communicates within your network. Then, in step 5, you will determine the candidate PEP solutions you need.
Insufficient use of compliance and threat intelligence in your PDP
The PDP uses inputs from security agents, CDMs, SIEMs, and activity logs for endpoint protection, vulnerability assessment, and data loss prevention. Ensure compliance with standards and policies including NIST CMF, identity management, and data access. It is essential that policies reflect the intelligence gathered from multiple vendors, tools, and sources as specific checks.
To prevent disruption of workflows and, more importantly, to hinder network access if checks fail, continuous, automatic, and machine-speed checks are needed.
Policy development without discovery, classification, or grouping
Your network’s devices, users, communication, and processes, and risks should all be known to you before creating policies.
Creating policies based on the discovery process produces a raw list of IP addresses. It is essential to classify them based on the type of user and device, then group them based on the function. Using this approach, group-level policies can assess trust and least-privileged access – the core of zero trust.
Using rapid deployments
Once everything is set up, you are ready to deploy ZTA and monitor it. Planning ahead is essential to avoid redesigns or stalled deployments.
You should start with smaller sections of your ecosystem and gradually expand. Nevertheless, if you focus on just one small area without seeing the bigger picture, you may establish zero trust in that area and then need to reboot to accomplish the rest – or never do it.
Cyber criminals attack medical organizations, steal sensitive data and sell it on black markets for high prices. Patients and healthcare departments can also suffer from this. ZTA provides the best solution for securing the network and preventing cyber criminals from leaking data.