3 de jun de 2024

Securing medical devices and enabling remote management: Best practices

Connected medical devices shouldn’t need to be a security threat. Read this article for tips for protecting all devices across your fleet.

  • Manage systems and machines
  • With increasing connectivity of digital devices and the growing threat of cyberattacks, ensuring the security of medical devices is crucial to safeguarding patient data and maintaining trust in the healthcare system.

    And for very real reasons: The IBM Cost of Data Breach Report 2023 revealed just how much is at stake:

    • USD 4.45 million: Average cost of a data breach in 2023 (up 15.3% since 2020)

    • 51%: Percentage of organizations planning to invest more in security because of a breach

    • 204 days: How long it takes on average for organizations to identify a breach

    The good news is that security investments tend to pay off. The same IBM report found that organizations who use security AI and automation identify and contain breaches in 108 fewer days (on average). In addition, their data breach costs are USD 1.76 million lower. 

    In this article, we'll look at the case study of the medical manufacturer MediTouch and explore best practices for healthcare technology manufacturers to secure their medical devices effectively. By adhering to these guidelines, you’ll be better positioned to avoid the increasing costs of cybersecurity incidents.

    Table of contents:

    The importance of medical device security

    From infusion pumps to MRI machines, medical devices are becoming increasingly interconnected, allowing for remote monitoring and data collection. However, this connectivity also exposes them to potential security threats, making robust security measures essential.

    Indeed, over the first ten months of 2023, more than 82 million healthcare records were exposed or “impermissibly disclosed,” highlighting the severity of the issue. Since 2020, the cost of healthcare data breaches has increased by 53.3% (IBM).

    The frequency, severity, and cost of security breaches is going up. Threat vectors are evolving at a dizzying rate, as shown by reports like this one from Microsoft. Over a three-month period in 2023, DDoS attacks aimed at the healthcare sector using Microsoft Azure increased 300%.

    Of course, the consequences of a breach extend far beyond cost. Healthcare organizations rely on their reputation for patient experience and service quality, both of which suffer when a breach occurs.

    Best practices for medical device security

    To truly make this investment count, you need a comprehensive security strategy that’s aligned with the following best practices:

    • Adopt a risk-based approach: Identify and prioritize potential risks to medical devices based on their functionality, connectivity, and potential impact on patient safety and data security

    • Implement secure design principles: Incorporate security features into the design phase of medical devices, such as encryption, authentication mechanisms, and secure update mechanisms

    • Ensure regulatory compliance: Stay informed about relevant regulations and standards, such as the FDA's premarket and post-market cybersecurity guidelines, to ensure compliance and mitigate legal risks

    • Conduct regular security assessments: Perform comprehensive security assessments, including vulnerability scanning and penetration testing, to identify and address potential weaknesses proactively

    • Secure communication protocols: Use secure communication protocols, such as TLS (Transport Layer Security), to encrypt data transmitted between medical devices and external systems, like servers or cloud platforms

    • Implement access controls: Employ robust access controls like role-based access control (RBAC) and multi-factor authentication (MFA), to restrict access to sensitive functions and data

    • Monitor and respond to security incidents: Establish procedures for monitoring device activity and responding to security incidents promptly. This may include implementing intrusion detection systems and incident response plans

    • Provide ongoing security training: Educate employees and stakeholders about the importance of security and best practices for securing medical devices. This includes training on identifying phishing attempts, social engineering tactics, and device-specific security features

    TeamViewer Tensor’s role in medical device security

    Ideally, any security solution you invest in should not only align with the above best practices but also offer the technical capabilities capable of reinforcing them. 

    Here’s how TeamViewer Tensor helps healthcare organizations secure their medical devices:

    • Certifications and compliance: TeamViewer Tensor holds various certifications, including SOC 2, HIPAA, and GDPR compliance, ensuring that medical device manufacturers meet industry-specific security requirements. TeamViewer’s IT and product security posture is a recognized leader worldwide
    • Conditional access: TeamViewer Tensor offers conditional access controls, allowing manufacturers to define granular access policies based on user roles, device attributes, and contextual factors
    • Remote support: With TeamViewer Tensor, manufacturers can provide secure remote support to healthcare institutions, enabling efficient troubleshooting and maintenance of medical devices without compromising security
    • Embedded devices: TeamViewer Tensor supports a wide range of devices and operating systems, including embedded systems commonly used in medical devices, ensuring compatibility and ease of integration
    • Reducing carbon footprint: By enabling remote diagnostics and maintenance, TeamViewer Tensor helps reduce the need for physical service visits, lowering carbon emissions and promoting environmental sustainability
    • Cost savings: With TeamViewer Tensor's remote support capabilities, medical device manufacturers can significantly reduce operational costs associated with on-site service visits, travel expenses, and downtime. This cost-effective solution allows organizations to allocate resources more efficiently while ensuring the security and reliability of their medical devices

    To delve deeper into this topic, explore our recent webinar, Strengthening security foundations: The role of enhanced access and control. This expert-led, on-demand webinar offers valuable insights into maintaining and managing your organization’s most important data and digital assets, including:

    • How to improve enterprise security posture
    • How TeamViewer Tensor simplifies user management and enforces security policies across devices
    • Best practices for scalable audit trails and managing privileges and access points
    • Strategies for expanding global access needs across business units

    Check out our recent article, Secure remote access: 7 must-have security features for your business, for further guidance on implementing robust security measures.

    Case study: MediTouch

    For over a decade, global rehabilitation technology manufacturer MediTouch has relied on TeamViewer to train clinicians on its technology and perform software updates remotely, eliminating the need for face-to-face interaction. 

    With pandemic restrictions, MediTouch faced challenges in training clinicians globally. They needed a remote access solution that met both technical and business requirements, and efficiently updated their solutions across international markets. 

    TeamViewer, chosen for its leading market position, provided a simple installation process for MediTouch’s global presence and ensured compliance with local data regulations such as GDPR and HIPAA, meeting all their needs effectively.

    Read the MediTouch success story in full.

    Summary

    Securing medical devices is a complex but essential task for healthcare technology manufacturers. Regulatory and compliance concerns are more demanding than ever, often limiting the scope of available security measures. 

    But the good news is that by following best practices, staying informed about the latest threats and regulations, and leveraging advanced solutions like TeamViewer Tensor, you can enhance the security of your devices and contribute to the overall safety and integrity of the healthcare ecosystem.

    About the author

    Sonika Kamra

    Demand Generation Manager – Enterprise IT at TeamViewer

    Sonika is a seasoned demand generation expert with many years of experience in the business-to-business technology space. With a deep understanding of healthcare technology and cybersecurity, Sonika is passionate about new technologies and their applications across industries. Sonika’s insights into securing medical devices and remote management stem from a rich background in driving technological adoption and strategic growth.

    Ready to enhance the security of your medical devices with TeamViewer Tensor?

    Contact our sales team today to learn more about how our remote access and support solution can help you achieve your security goals.