Endpoints are a favorite attack surface for cybercriminals due to lax cybersecurity measures and unaware end-users. The entire global workforce has witnessed massive cyberattacks targeting endpoints, ranging from industries like finance, IT, BPO, and retail. The healthcare sector is not lagging in any way.
Attackers have realized that healthcare endpoints are accessible and high-value targets. That’s why endpoint detection and response (EDR) for healthcare is a topic on every healthcare administrator’s mind.
In April of 2022, Arizona’s Yuma Regional Medical Center faced a ransomware attack that exposed critical data of 700,000 people. This is just one example of the numerous cyberattacks on the healthcare sector this year. The US health department reports the number of healthcare breaches in the first half of 2022 has doubled from the same period last year.
This blog takes you through the various challenges and vulnerabilities healthcare partitioners face and the role of EDR in securing the future of the healthcare sector.
Table of Contents
EDR for Healthcare: Security in the Aftermath of the Pandemic
No other sector was more severely impacted by the pandemic than the healthcare sector. The way of working, the nature of patient interaction, and healthcare administration practices changed overnight. Non-essential personnel moved to remote work as soon as the pandemic began. Billing, medical records management, patient onboarding, and community relations were moved to remote locations. The greatest downside to this decision was that most healthcare administrators lacked cybersecurity training and awareness.
Throughout the pandemic, healthcare organizations dealt with a wave of ransomware attacks. One example of a crippling targeted cyberattack was the ransomware attack on Universal Health Services. It wiped out IT systems in over 400 hospitals and facilities in the US. The result was a loss of $67 million in revenue and significant reputational damage.
In 2020, hospitals and healthcare facilities were largely unaware of how to secure their network endpoints from sophisticated attacks. The situation has changed now.
EDR technology is readily available today for healthcare organizations of all sizes. The benefit of managed EDR solutions is that effective endpoint security is delivered with the minimal technical know-how on the organization’s part. Endpoint security providers are responsible for the deployment, implementation, round-the-clock monitoring, and regular threat posture analysis.
Ransomware Protection With EDR
Traditional antivirus is not secure enough against new-age advanced cyberattacks. Healthcare organizations are rapidly switching from one-dimensional antivirus solutions to endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions.
Antivirus solutions use simple signature-based detection, which is useless against polymorphic viruses. These viruses escape antivirus scanning by changing their forms and signatures. Endpoint security goes beyond signature-based detection by monitoring endpoints for suspicious behavior. Using policy-based detection rules and User Entity Behavioral Analysis (UEBA) capabilities, EDR protects your endpoints from multi-vector attacks.
EDR tools also regularly monitor endpoints for existing vulnerabilities and update patches as soon as they become available. Moreover, the machine learning capabilities of EDR enable it to detect ‘goodware’ from malware. If one endpoint gets infected with ransomware, EDR’s sandboxing and forensic analysis capabilities stop the ransomware from infecting the entire network.
Suggested Reading: Why is EDR Crucial for Financial Industry?
Managing Medical Device Risks With EDR
The proliferation of medical devices is a significant challenge in healthcare cybersecurity. Data breaches and DDoS attacks are often launched via medical IoT devices. Attackers target network-connected devices to shut down essential operations, establish backdoors into the network, steal electronically protected health information (ePHI), and hijack the devices. The potential risk to patients’ lives and privacy is monumental.
EDR for healthcare helps implement a streamlined action plan for securing medical devices. There are multiple reasons why EDR for healthcare is essential for managing medical devices.
Enables device visibility:
Healthcare organizations have hundreds to thousands of medical devices in their network, but these devices are invisible to IT and security teams. Risk management becomes impossible when the inventory itself is incomplete. EDR solutions show all medical devices on a central platform where they can be monitored and assessed for vulnerabilities.
Updates Operating System patches
Out-of-date software on medical devices poses a massive risk for penetration cyberattacks. It jeopardizes device functionality, data security, and patient lives. Sometimes, simply updating the Windows version of these machines can strengthen security and cover glaring vulnerabilities. The endpoint security provider enables automatic updates and ensures no endpoint device is outdated.
EDR tools continuously monitor endpoint medical devices for any unusual or suspicious behavior, enabling real-time data collection and in-depth forensic analysis of any alert. It shortens the threat lifecycle and ensures minimal downtime of essential medical devices.
Instant threat response
Endpoint security providers have experienced and highly skilled threat analysts on their teams. The combined capabilities of qualified security personnel and AI-powered threat analysis launch counter-attacks as soon as a threat is detected. EDR tools perform a number of automated responses to block the spread of malicious agents and terminate infected processes.
EDR for Managing Healthcare Data Compliance
Government regulations on healthcare data protection, established by Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), are iron-clad patient privacy mandates. Noncompliance leads to hefty fines, lawsuits, and strict government action against negligent organizations.
EDR for healthcare plays a central role in helping organizations meet the basic requirements for medical devices and data security. It helps in various ways, such as:
- Developing a device lifecycle plan
- Customize security policies and procedures for each category of devices
- Creating a comprehensive inventory of all devices
- Ensuring all devices are visible on a central platform
- Regular risk analysis and software updates on devices
- Continuous monitoring and auditing
Secure Healthcare Endpoints with ACE Managed EDR
ACE Managed EDR is a next-generation endpoint security tool that prevents sophisticated attacks and blocks suspicious agents, credential theft, and privilege escalation. ACE has partnered with CrowdStrike Falcon EDR to deliver a proactive and simplified endpoint solution.
Advanced capabilities like MITRE ATT&CK-based threat mapping, root cause analysis, behavior detection, and web filtering reduce alert fatigue and enhance real-time visibility. ACE’s security team accelerates response to attacks with actionable threat intelligence, cutting the threat lifecycle by half.
ACE offers free security consultations worth $500, where our experts assess your current security posture and provide remediation recommendations for strengthening your security environment. If you’re concerned about your healthcare organization’s endpoint security, take a consultation call today! Book a Free Security Consultation Today!