Research reveals healthcare facilities need a holistic digital identity strategy

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More than two-thirds believe identity management is important to their security strategy, yet less than half are using key identity and access management (IAM) technologies

As more healthcare facilities take steps to strengthen their security posture, protecting against all cyber threats hasn’t been easy. Healthcare facilities are struggling with implementing and enforcing holistic digital identity management strategies, according to the new Imprivata report released titled, Security and Digital Identity in the Healthcare Industry. The findings show that despite 69% of respondents saying identity management is important to their organization’s security strategy, 51% have still experienced a security incident in the last year.

Imprivata, the digital identity company for mission and life-critical industries partnered with research firm WBR Insights to survey 200 security leaders at healthcare companies across the US and UK. The results shed light on how healthcare organizations like hospitals, clinics, and medical systems are approaching security risks.

Responses indicate that healthcare organizations have made significant progress in protecting their systems from cyberattacks and data breaches, with over 75% claiming their security strategy has become more robust and comprehensive. However, the fact that more than half (51%) suffered a cybersecurity incident in the past year suggests a different approach is needed to enhance security.

“Healthcare organizations have been put under significant strain, not only by the ongoing pandemic, but by the sheer volume of cyber threats that plague this sector at rates higher than any other,” said Gus Malezis, CEO at Imprivata. “Now, enterprises must put the right technologies and processes in place to enhance security and prioritize compliance in the face of these rising threats.”

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of respondents are currently using compliance, audit, and risk reporting technologies to combat these threats. However, only half of the respondents surveyed are using multifactor authentication (MFA), a core security technology that requires multiple verification factors to gain access to data and applications.

Other critical identity and access management solutions that are being used by less than half of respondents include single sign-on (46%), privileged access management (PAM) (42%), and role-based provisioning and de-provisioning (35%). These solutions, including MFA, represent the foundation of a zero-trust architecture (ZTA). High complexity and poor user compliance are cited as top roadblocks to implementation, while 73% said lack of budget is not a challenge for their identity management strategy.

Using one of these solutions is better than none, but the lack of a holistic cyber strategy can leave detrimental gaps and vulnerabilities. Of those that experienced a security incident, 51% cited the incident involved theft of customer personal identifiable information.

“While security leaders understand the threats they face, it’s clear they need better, more efficient solutions to break down internal barriers. Working with a seasoned partner that understands clinical workflows can help ensure deployment is successful through implementation and beyond,” said Malezis.

Investing in cyber insurance is also one of the highest priorities for healthcare organizations in 2022, according to 39% of respondents. Over a third (35%) do not currently have cyber insurance, with 39% citing cost as the primary reason. In fact, 70% of respondents with cyber insurance said their insurance premium has increased between 11% and 50% in the past year.

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Media contact 

Rebecca Morpeth Spayne, 

Editor, Security Portfolio 

Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 922

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