Modern Security for Future Healthcare – Microsoft News Center Canada

By Peter Jones, Head of Healthcare Industry, Microsoft Canada

Nowadays, cyber security is one of the top concerns for companies of all industries as they turn to modern technology and digital transformation. For healthcare organizations in particular, it can be a challenge to balance innovation with the compliance requirements needed to protect patient information and sensitive data. If the right technology is not deployed, cyberattacks can have lasting effects and disrupt the important work of our healthcare providers.

Security vulnerabilities have increased in the healthcare industry due to the advancement of medical technology and the rapid transition to Electronic Health Records (EHRs). Cybercriminals have been targeting this sector since the beginning of the pandemic, taking advantage of these modern access points.

In Ontario, the provincial government is conducting a pilot project to standardize some core cyber capabilities called the Regional Security Operations Center (RSOC). This establishes a coordinated approach to protecting digital health information and infrastructure.

Microsoft Canada Chief Security Officer Kevin Magee recently sat down with Jean-Claude Lemonde, Chief Information Security Officer at The Ottawa Hospital, an RSOC, to discuss the digital transformation and key takeaways following recent ransomware attacks on multiple healthcare organizations throughout the province and to discuss the country. The discussion mentions common vulnerabilities and avenues of attack in healthcare, such as: B. Legacy systems, under-staffed IT, and complacency with documenting security policies. These are all gaps Lemonde is tackling with technology, and he shared the following key insights to ensure his organization remains secure.

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Use the right technology: Lemonde credits Microsoft Defender technology for endpoints and cloud with the rapid containment of their attacks and the ability to share threat intelligence with partner institutions. He says: “The adoption of the Microsoft stack and security suite has fundamentally transformed Ottawa Hospital. Not only has it helped us improve our security posture, but it has also helped us save time by eliminating non-value-added tasks like finding disk space for the database that Sharepoint supports; This time could be reinvested in value-adding initiatives like automation. Azure takes care of all of that, so we could focus on helping our end users keep working securely.”

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Prioritizing Threat Intelligence Sharing: Lemonde also emphasizes that one of the keys to resilience is recognizing that no institution is a separate entity. The entire healthcare system is interdependent and each institution is influenced by the other. For this reason, a common platform for sharing threat intelligence should be a priority. Ottawa Hospital has offered partner institutions to join their Microsoft 365 tenant, where they have access to all automation technology and sophisticated Microsoft Defender services. This allows their network of healthcare facilities to share and access threat intelligence to create a collective robust security posture.

Promote a culture of safety: Another key takeaway Lemonde shares is that fostering a culture of cybersecurity awareness within the organization is an essential part of risk mitigation. He mentions that he relies on leadership to inform and educate their teams on security best practices so they understand how their digital efforts could impact the security of the organization. Awareness has improved in recent years, largely due to this approach of making sure everyone feels empowered to do their job safely while understanding their individual role in protecting the organization.

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Lemonde concludes that service management, understanding potential risks, and institutional collaboration are essential to stay ahead of the next cyber threat and will help the company increase value for its users.

Businesses need to be protected from the inevitable modern threats that come with digital transformation. By deploying the right technology, healthcare organizations can prevent and detect attacks at every touchpoint to protect themselves and their patients.

To learn more about Ottawa Hospital’s cybersecurity transformation, please watch the full webinar here

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