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As the BYOD trend becomes mainstream in healthcare, it is enabling the mobile workforce to be more efficient and productive. But the benefits of the BYOD phenomenon come with their own set of risks.

With healthcare now at the top of the list for having the highest number of data breach incidents, it’s important to know the implications of creating a BYOD environment — and the steps organizations need to take to maintain security. Is your healthcare organization prepared to protect patient privacy, data and systems in the face of the changing cybersecurity landscape?

BYOD Adoption Helps Improve Quality of Care

Clinicians are adapting to the demands of delivering healthcare in a dynamic, digital world by embracing mobile devices. Just three years ago, less than 10 percent of physicians used mobile devices. Today, that number is estimated at 70 percent.

In this golden era of medicine, patients expect constant communication with providers, personalized care and faster diagnoses. Mobile devices not only help advance the real-time delivery of healthcare, but also improve the quality of care.

BYOD Adds to Unique Cybersecurity Risks

Across all industries, IT practitioners consider mobile devices the fastest-growing threat to their organizations in terms of cybersecurity risks. One of many challenges is protecting sensitive data stored on personal devices — such as in emails — that can be stolen or lost, but not locked or wiped. Employees can also get their devices infected with malware while off premises, which then compromises the organization’s network when employees are back on site.

Within the healthcare sector, the risks are magnified by the complexity of the network infrastructure, the proliferation of connected medical devices (which historically have not been developed with security risks in mind), as well as the large number of endpoints and systems that touch medical data.

Best Practices for Preventing Risks

Without implementing and strictly enforcing a BYOD policy, organizations are contributing to their shadow IT problem. The risk is especially high if physicians and staff are using unapproved apps on their devices for sharing sensitive data, since many consumer apps don’t have the same level of security as enterprise versions.

Best practices to help prevent risks include:

  • Have a designated BYOD manager who can “credential” personal devices, just like you have a credentialing coordinator for personnel.
  • As part of the credentialing process, use an “enrollment portal” where employees can register their devices and eligibility can be verified.
  • Implement controls such as having BYOD users give the IT staff advance permission to wipe, lock or encrypt the device if it’s stolen or lost.
  • Use blacklists for detecting when sensitive data is being shared through an unsecure app.
  • Educate the staff and clinicians about the dangers of shadow IT and the consequences of circumventing BYOD policies.

Building a network security infrastructure that can fend off risks is vital to creating a healthcare environment that can benefit from BYOD. Infogressive can help you find solutions to optimize your healthcare environment.