IoMT – Conquering the new frontier

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IoMT – Conquering the new frontier

February 19, 2021
Cyber Security Health IT
From the January/February issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Medical Device Security (MDS):
MDS solutions collect networked device information and apply sophisticated machine learning training models to classify and profile all medical devices on the network. This provides an unprecedented granularity in understanding each device — what it is, how it is configured, and what behaviors it is supposed to exhibit. Once complete, it becomes possible to detect anomalies and create actionable policies, using AI techniques, to regulate and protect your devices and critical data assets, all in real time and at scale.

The very first step in managing and protecting medical devices is identifying and documenting the device to include its purpose and capabilities. Given that there are tens of thousands of networked IoMT devices utilizing different communication protocols, many moving across the wireless network, this is extremely labor-intensive using traditional practices. The new MDS scanning results in finding all IoMT devices on the network immediately. Device data insights include what type of device is detected, its make, capabilities, location, application/port, and behaviors.

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Traditional network scanning tools provide limited device information like the MAC and IP address, reducing opportunities for sharing data and integrating department workflow. MDS analyzes network packets which generate rich new data sets benefiting all stakeholders and fostering integrated operations.

Once an organization knows what devices it has, determining the purpose of each device in the enterprise and understanding normal behavior patterns is critical. Mapping normal device communications patterns and baselines will identify anomalous behaviors. Both network and contextual behavior of each device must be understood to determine the exposure of an organization to internal and external threats. Beyond securing the devices, those containing ePHI are required to be identified as a part of a HIPAA Risk Assessment. Security efforts must avoid interfering with critical clinical dataflows. Once organizations have the ability to recognize these clinical workflows, Information Security or HTM can identify anomalies that may negatively impact patient care resulting in direct patient harm.

Network Behavior
- Does the device communicate with the manufacturer for updates and patches?
- With what other devices is it communicating?
- Is the device type isolated to communication within the VLAN?
- Are communications normal for this device type?

Clinical Context
- Does the device transfer or store ePHI?
- Is the device a Tier I or II type device?
- Which connections are clinical and nonclinical?

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