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Prioritize risk management activities to protect patient data

Ransomware and other cyber attacks on healthcare organizations have braced for a tough 2021, and they won’t give up in 2022. Add to that the risks of the medical internet of things, cloud computing, and systems. interconnected data, and IT managers have a full board to manage, says Greg Peebles, director of information security at St. Elizabeth Healthcare.

To help IT staff prioritize risk management, St. Elizabeth relies on Tenable.sc. The platform provides a risk-based view of vulnerabilities, as well as automated analysis and reporting, making it easy to identify and correct potential issues.

“We want to analyze our entire environment, regardless of what’s added from a technological point of view,” Peebles explains.

Medical devices can be particularly complex, with unique operating systems and patient privacy concerns. Tenable’s active and passive scanning modes, and the ability to identify risky devices such as obsolete ones, help mitigate these issues.

Better visibility also allows for more granular reporting and trend analysis, adds Peebles. With a system that spans six facilities and some 170 offices in Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio, the ability to customize reports for various audiences was important to St. Elizabeth’s IT department.

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“When I started here, we focused on creating metrics and metrics for our vulnerability management, which really fits in with Tenable’s place,” says Peebles.

With potentially thousands of vulnerabilities every month, the ability to prioritize and track fixes over time is crucial. “The goal was to set up capture processes and then use tools like Tenable to track and see how you’re doing,” he says.

Automation helps IT staff stay on top of that volume, for example with remediation tools that automatically analyze and send monthly reports.

“There are still a few vulnerabilities that we need to figure out manually, but when it comes to the patch cycle, scanning and communication, we’ve tried to automate them, to reduce the effort of repeatable processes,” Peebles explains. .

As cyber attacks become more sophisticated, he sees an opportunity for healthcare organizations to increase their collaboration. Partnering efforts, such as security operations centers, could help vendors share intelligence and optimize their infrastructure.

“How can we have a more coordinated effort to stop the bad actors who are actively launching phishing campaigns and trying to break into hospitals?” Peebles said. “I look at small hospitals that maybe don’t even have dedicated security teams. How can we, as an industry, help them and help each other? “

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