How to Harden Devices Without a Fully Implemented NAC
Protecting your healthcare network from cyberattacks is a top priority. Malicious actors might hinder operations or steal sensitive patient data.
Hardening network devices vulnerable to exploitation reduces risk and strengthens your overall security. It can be time-consuming if you have to update each device manually, but you can harden devices more easily with platforms like Asimily.
Device hardening isn’t the only way to protect your network. However, it’s a key component of any comprehensive cybersecurity strategy. Implementing the right security controls and procedures can help protect patient privacy and safety while enabling better compliance with regulatory requirements.
Harden Devices: Understanding the Limitations of Other Practices
As technology continues to transform the healthcare industry, maintaining a secure network has become crucial. Most health organizations have multiple practices to shield against cyber threats. Some of these measures are only feasible within large organizations.
For example, micro-segmentation is a great way to limit exposure. But this requires dedicated personnel and a functional network access control (NAC) system – resources that many small or medium-sized organizations lack.
The same is true for other practices, such as targeted segmentation, a necessary but labor-intensive and difficult-to-implement strategy.
The Alternate Solution: Harden Devices without a NAC
In cases when targeted segmentation or micro-segmentation are too challenging to configure and manage, device hardening can be an effective solution. Hardening is an effective and cost-efficient way to reduce the attack surface of devices and can be beneficial for organizations both with and without a fully integrated NAC.
Device hardening is the process of protecting computing medical devices from malicious or unauthorized access. It differs from general hardening because it applies specifically to the devices themselves, not the overall operating system or NAC. In the healthcare industry, device hardening includes a range of measures to ensure that medical devices are secure and functioning properly.
These measures include:
- Turning off unused services and ports,
- Configuring settings to be less permissive,
- Applying the principle of least privilege access for users,
- Figuring out constraints and variants,
- Setting rules to monitor for changes,
- Implementing user authentication standards,
- Enforcing strong security standards.
By adhering to these steps of device hardening, healthcare organizations can protect their devices from attack and ensure the safety of patients’ data.
Harden Devices: Best Practices
In addition to applying the conventional measures above, device hardening can include practices such as regularly updating the device’s software and any antivirus software. Device hardening also includes measures such as encrypting data and using secure authentication protocols (such as two-factor authentication). By taking these additional steps to harden their devices, healthcare organizations can ensure that every aspect of their systems is resilient against potential attacks.
Hardening vulnerable devices is an effective way to secure your network without extensive investments or complex tools. By taking a comprehensive view, healthcare organizations can take control of their network security and protect against cyberattacks.
A Holistic Approach to IoMT Security
A holistic approach to IoMT security involves many tools. Device hardening is essential to mitigate the risk of your network getting hit by cybercrime. Additional measures range from mandatory practices like regular patching to optional but powerful steps such as micro-segmentation.
At Asimily, we believe there are eight critical steps to consider when resolving IoMT risk.
- Device Hardening
- Upgrade or Replace
- Accept the Risk
- Build a Holistic IoMT Security Program
Patching involves regularly installing available software updates and patches. It helps to protect against known security threats and vulnerabilities.
Macro segmentation occurs when dividing the network into separate, isolated subnets to reduce the attack surface. It is especially effective for containing cyber incidents once they get identified within the system.
Targeted segmentation is a more granular approach than macro segmentation. It involves the creation of smaller, dedicated subnets for certain types of devices or users. Targeted segmentation lets your team identify and contain cyber threats quickly.
Device hardening refers to any steps taken to secure individual systems from unauthorized access or exploits.
Micro-segmentation triggers the creation of virtual network segments specific to the device model or use case, protected by firewalls or other security measures.
Upgrade or Replace
In some cases, it may be necessary to upgrade or replace older devices. These situations are often a last resort because upgrading and replacing IoMT devices can be prohibitively expensive.
Accept the Risk
No matter how many of these measures are taken, there is still some risk associated with connected healthcare systems. Understanding what data is at risk and who might have access to it is essential.
Build a Holistic IoMT Security Program
Finally, the best way to maintain a holistic security program includes regular audits and testing and ongoing employee training and education.
Learn how to remediate cyber risk in your medical devices by downloading our step-by-step guide now.
Mitigate Medical Device Cyber Risk with Asimily
Protect your medical devices with Asimily. Our platform helps healthcare organizations mount an ongoing response to cyber threats. With features like detailed inventory management and anomaly identification, Asimily will help you stay ahead of cyber threats.
If a breach does occur, our forensic analysis will help you pinpoint the source of the attack.
Schedule a consultation with an Asimily expert to see how you can defend your hospital systems against ransomware and malware attacks with our leading risk management platform for Internet of Medical Things (IoMT).
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