The best way to avoid a data breach is to identify network vulnerabilities before your attackers do. This is particularly relevant to the healthcare sector, as it typically lacks some of the robust cybersecurity tools that other industries have come to rely on. If your team is looking for ways to improve its own data security, here are three methods we highly encourage you to adopt.
Penetration testing is more than a nice-to-have feature in the healthcare space. It’s also mandatory to meet compliance for credit card processing. As HealthTech defines it, penetration testing “attempts to exploit all the layers within an organization’s ecosystem — before malicious actors do — to expose whether a configuration is as secure as it seems.”
Generally speaking, there are four types of pen testing you should use in order to evaluate your entire network. First, identify weak points across your local network, its firewall, and any connected cloud-based services. Follow-up with on-site testing of your wireless network and its physical controllers. Then, review your internal systems to identify routes a bad actor might take if they were able to compromise your network. Finally, review your internal applications and their credentials to see what data they share that could be potentially exposed.
Red Team vs. Blue Team Exercises
Think of red team vs. blue team exercises as a more in-depth version of penetration testing. Whereas pen testing is meant to identify all potential vulnerabilities over a short inspection window, these team exercises are a targeted, intensive, weeks-long evaluation of the state of your healthcare organization’s network. During that time, an internal security team (blue) attempts to thwart breaches from either another internal team or a third-party security partner (red). These simulated exercises are “designed to test an organization’s detection and response capabilities and achieve set objectives, such as data exfiltration.” It’s also recommended that these be performed annually.
Purple teaming is the name given to the collaborative dynamic between red and blue teams. Rather than having them focus solely on defense or attack, purple teaming allows both sides to learn from one another in order to understand and grow a more unified cyber strategy. But in order to make this collaboration fruitful, it’s recommended that your red team be a third-party security provider, rather than another internal team. The reason, says HealthTech, is “because an internal red team may have too much knowledge of the organization’s security program for a blue team to overcome during a red vs. blue team exercise.”
Do you have questions about these methods of network vulnerability testing? We’d like to hear about them. When you’re ready, let’s talk about the best ways to improve your data management and security.