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Healthcare BYOD Security Embraces Cloud, Biometric Authentication

Healthcare BYOD security uses modern technology to give users more privacy and IT staff more security and control.

Healthcare BYOD security

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Organizations demand more flexibility from their healthcare mobile strategy as clinicians are able to access information in more convenient ways. However, entities need to be aware of how healthcare BYOD security affects the network.

Bitglass polled over 200 IT and security professionals across all major verticals to learn more about how IT staff and decision-makers handle the growing threat of security issues with BYOD evolving as a critical healthcare tool.

"Enterprises often misjudge the effectiveness of traditional security solutions, many of which are readily bypassed," Bitglass CEO Rich Campagna said in a statement. "The BYOD boom exposes organizations to risks that can only be mitigated with next-gen, data-centric solutions that secure access."

BYOD solutions come with risks that stem from the potential use of unmanaged devices or apps to gain access to PHI.

Survey respondents identified external sharing, malware protection, and unmanages device access as their top security priorities for 2018. Shadow IT, improved analytics, and consolidating security solutions were also ranked as key concerns.

BYOD security is embracing the cloud along with other health IT infrastructure tools. BYOD uses the cloud to manage BYOD devices without being as intrusive on the user’s personal data the way mobile device management (MDM) solutions have been known to do in the past.

Twenty-three percent of professionals polled said that they use cloud access security brokers (CASB) with 39 percent reporting that they have active plans to purchase a CASB. CASBs give organizations more visibility and control over the applications used on BYOD devices.

However, 75 percent of respondents reported that they still use on-premises firewalls and other traditional security solutions in addition to CASBs or while they are transitioning to CASBs.

Seventy-five percent of those surveyed also use encryption, 61 percent use MDM solutions, and 57 percent use multi-factor authentication (MFA) to further secure BYOD devices.

Secure web gateways (SWGs) are also emerging alongside CASBs as a next generation BYOD security solution with 49 percent reporting that SWGs are part of their digital security environment.

The survey also revealed a gaping security flaw in many BYOD implementations, with 75 percent of organizations relying too heavily on user-generated passwords. User generated passwords are easy to steal and without MFA to supplement, user passwords BYOD devices are vulnerable to attacks.

Acceptable MFA methods for BYOD include third party applications, SMS tokens, hardware tokens, or Google authentication.

BYOD is also moving forward with biometric authentication in an attempt to eliminate password theft and fraud. However, there are several concerns IT professionals raised about this type of user authentication, in particular Apple Face ID.

Respondents were very much divided on the tool’s reliability. Thirty-nine percent questioned Apple Face ID’s ability to accurately detect the users face. Thirty percent were concerned about false positives, while 23 percent were skeptical of the speed of face detection.

Other concerns included low light functionality (21 percent), secure on-device storage (21 percent), and user health issues, such as blindness (11 percent).

BYOD needs to adapt to new and more advanced security measures, but entities need to also be wary of innovative solutions that have not been tested and or found success in the healthcare space.

“BYOD requires that enterprises adopt modern methods of security,” Bitglass researchers concluded. “Looking ahead, IT departments will be forced to change the way that they think about data protection— particularly as new technologies like Apple’s Face ID enter the market. Forward-thinking enterprises are focused on total data protection, secure authentication, and the tools that best balance security and employee productivity.”

Innovative BYOD security tools are a good way to take IT intrusion out of the personal data stored on BYOD devices and can also give IT tools with more visibility and control over the mobile environment.

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