SASE Convergence in Healthcare: A Strategic Roadmap for the Future of Secure Access

Posted On 23 Mar, 2024

Introduction

Healthcare organizations are rapidly adopting cloud computing, the Internet of Things (IoT), and remote work to meet the evolving demands of patients, healthcare providers, and regulatory bodies.

This shift introduces complex challenges in securing access to healthcare data, applications, and devices. Additionally, the increasing sophistication of cyber threats and the rising number of data breaches pose significant risks to patient privacy and healthcare operations.

Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) emerges as a transformative approach that converges networking and security into a unified, cloud-native service.

SASE empowers healthcare organizations to address the unique challenges of securing access in the modern healthcare landscape by providing comprehensive protection and seamless connectivity across all users, devices, and locations.

This comprehensive strategic roadmap outlines the essential steps for healthcare organizations to successfully implement SASE, encompassing network transformation, security consolidation, policy orchestration, and continuous monitoring.

Step 1: Network Transformation

SASE in Healthcare: Future of Secure Access Roadmap

Assessment and Planning

  • Conduct a thorough audit of your healthcare organization’s existing network infrastructure, identifying bottlenecks, legacy systems, and vulnerabilities that hinder performance and compromise secure access to healthcare applications and data.
  • Create a strategic plan to address these vulnerabilities and upgrade the network to support modern healthcare IT requirements, including secure access from various devices and locations, data privacy compliance, and support for emerging technologies in healthcare.

Cloud Connectivity

  • As healthcare data increasingly resides in the cloud, establish secure and reliable high-speed connections between your organization’s on-premises network and public cloud environments.
  • Implement robust encryption and authentication mechanisms to protect sensitive patient data during transmission and storage in the cloud.
  • Ensure compliance with relevant data privacy regulations and industry standards for cloud data protection.

SD-WAN Deployment

  • Implement a SD-WAN solution to optimize traffic routing and enhance application performance for healthcare applications, such as electronic health records (EHRs), telemedicine platforms, and medical imaging systems.
  • Configure SD-WAN policies to prioritize healthcare-critical applications and ensure seamless connectivity across multiple locations and cloud environments.
  • Integrate SD-WAN with existing security solutions to provide comprehensive protection against cyber threats.

Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA)

  • Implement a ZTNA solution to enforce granular access controls based on user identity, device, and application, ensuring that only authorized users and devices can access specific resources.
  • Continuously verify user and device trust through risk-based authentication and ongoing monitoring to prevent unauthorized access.

 

Step 2: Security Consolidation

SASE in Healthcare: Future of Secure Access Roadmap

Cloud-Based Security Services

  • Adopt cloud-based security services that are purpose-built for healthcare organizations and meet industry compliance standards.
  • Centralize security management by utilizing a single, cloud-based platform that provides visibility into all security events and allows for quick response and remediation.
  • Ensure that cloud-based security services are integrated with existing security infrastructure for seamless and comprehensive protection.

Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW)

  • Implement an NGFW at your healthcare institution that combines traditional firewall capabilities with advanced features such as intrusion prevention, application control, and threat detection.
  • Configure firewall rules to allow only authorized traffic and block malicious traffic attempts.
  • Monitor firewall logs for suspicious activity and respond promptly to security alerts.

Secure Web Gateway (SWG)

  • Deploy a SWG at your Hospital to protect against malicious websites, phishing attacks, and web-based threats.
  • Enforce web access policies to control user access to specific websites and categories of websites.
  • Monitor web traffic for suspicious activity and block access to malicious websites.

Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB)

  • Implement a CASB to secure access to cloud-based applications and data.
  • Enforce granular access controls, data encryption, and activity monitoring for cloud applications.
  • Ensure compliance with relevant data privacy regulations and industry standards for cloud security.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

  • Utilize a DLP solution to prevent sensitive patient information from being leaked or exfiltrated.
  • Configure DLP policies to identify and protect sensitive data types, such as personally identifiable information (PII), protected health information (PHI), and intellectual property.
  • Monitor data transfers and activities for suspicious behavior and take appropriate actions to prevent data breaches.

 

Step 3: Policy Orchestration

  • Implement a centralized policy management platform that enables the creation, enforcement, and consistent application of security policies across the entire healthcare organization.
  • Configure policies based on user identity, device type, application, and location, ensuring that access to sensitive data is restricted to authorized individuals and devices.
  • Continuously monitor and update policies to adapt to changing threats and regulatory requirements.

 

Step 4: Continuous Monitoring

  • Deploy robust monitoring tools to provide real-time visibility into network traffic, security events, and system performance across the entire SASE architecture.
  • Integrate threat intelligence feeds into the monitoring system to stay informed about emerging threats and proactively address them.
  • Establish a dedicated security operations center (SOC) staffed with skilled security analysts to monitor alerts, investigate incidents, and respond to security threats.

 

Healthcare-Specific Cyber Security Considerations

SASE in Healthcare: Future of Secure Access Roadmap

In addition to the general principles of SASE implementation, healthcare organizations must address specific considerations related to their unique requirements and regulatory environment:

  • Patient Data Privacy: Healthcare organizations must prioritize the protection of patient data, which is subject to strict privacy and security regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). SASE should be implemented in a manner that ensures compliance with all applicable data privacy regulations.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Healthcare organizations must comply with a variety of regulations and standards, including HIPAA, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and industry-specific regulations such as ISO 27001 and HITRUST. SASE should be implemented in a manner that supports compliance with these regulations and standards.
  • Interoperability and Integration: Healthcare organizations often use a wide range of disparate systems and applications, including legacy systems, EHRs, medical devices, and IoT devices. SASE should be implemented in a manner that ensures interoperability and seamless integration with these systems and applications.
  • Telehealth and Remote Work: The increasing adoption of telehealth and remote work in healthcare requires secure and reliable access to healthcare applications and data from various locations. SASE should be implemented in a manner that supports secure remote access while protecting patient data and privacy.
  • Cybersecurity Workforce Development: Healthcare organizations should invest in cybersecurity workforce development to ensure that they have the skilled personnel necessary to manage and maintain a secure SASE architecture.

 

Your Tech Health Guardians

SASE in Healthcare: Future of Secure Access Roadmap

At Consltek, we cater to the unique IT challenges faced by mid-sized hospitals, letting you focus on what matters most—saving lives.

Located in Livermore CA, Consltek Inc is more than just a Managed Security Services Provider. We are the protectors of healthcare technology, your ally in the fight against digital threats.

Our goal is simple: to fortify your digital defenses so that healthcare professionals can concentrate on their vital work without the stress of cybersecurity risks or IT issues.

We’ve partnered with the best in technology to ensure your security is unparalleled:

  • Cato Networks shields you with top-tier cybersecurity solutions, including SASE and SD-WAN.
  • Allgress Inc simplifies compliance, offering a comprehensive Integrated Risk Management Suite for Governance, Risk, and Compliance.
  • Extreme Networks drives your network and wireless advancements, keeping you ahead of the curve.

With Consltek, your healthcare IT transforms into a bastion of security and operational excellence. Join forces with us and propel your healthcare institution into a future where technology safeguards, empowers, and leads.

Conclusion

The convergence of networking and security in the healthcare industry through SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) has emerged as a transformative approach to safeguarding patient data, ensuring regulatory compliance, and delivering exceptional patient care. 

By combining the capabilities of SD-WAN, ZTNA, cloud-based security services, and policy orchestration, SASE empowers healthcare organizations to enhance their security posture, optimize network performance, and simplify IT management.

By adopting a strategic roadmap for SASE implementation and addressing healthcare-specific considerations, healthcare organizations can harness the full potential of SASE to protect their critical assets, maintain patient trust, and drive innovation in healthcare delivery.

    Article by:

    Rajesh Haridas

    Rajesh Haridas is the founder and CEO of Consltek. He brings in 20+ years of experience working in the technology industry.

    Category:
    Security
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