How an MSSP can help with medical device cybersecurity

In recent years, healthcare providers have seen an increased number of cybersecurity incidents, as more medical devices such as insulin pumps, pacemakers and glucose meters are connected to the internet.

While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) works to protect medical devices against cyber-attacks along with manufacturers, healthcare providers and patients, these risks are still all too likely. A recent report from Ponemon perceived that cybersecurity risk among medical Internet of Things (IoT) devices was very high, with only 21% of respondents reporting a mature stage of proactive security solutions.

An MSSP can assist your organization with various aspects of security management, compliance and prevention.

What is an MSSP?

A managed security service provider (MSSP) delivers IT security services including threat management, vulnerability management, penetration testing, risk analysis, incident response and more. An MSSP can help organizations detect and prevent cyber-attacks before they occur, or respond to an incident swiftly to minimize the damage.

They also provide regulatory compliance guidance to organizations within the healthcare sector, which need to strictly comply with regulations such as HIPAA and ISO 27001.

How cyber-attacks can compromise connected medical devices

Cyber-attacks can take many forms, including malware, hacking, phishing, spamming, DDOS attacks and other methods. These attacks can affect any device connected to the internet, which includes many medical devices. These devices, such as IV pumps, blood glucose meters, and ventilators, are often used by physicians, nurses, and patients at home. 

A cyber-attack can compromise connected medical devices by disrupting their normal function. This can lead to life-threatening situations, such as malfunctioning pacemakers or insulin pumps. When medical devices are connected to the internet, there is a risk that malicious actors will be able to access data stored on them, or even inject malicious code into these devices, which could lead to serious consequences.

FDA principles of medical device cybersecurity

The FDA provides guidance to help manufacturers design products to be cyber secure, and has recently released a draft guiding a device’s cybersecurity throughout its life cycle. This draft details how the FDA will apply existing regulatory requirements.

The draft guidance establishes six principles of medical device security:

  • Cybersecurity is an integral part of device safety
  • Security by design
  • Transparency
  • Security risk management
  • Security architecture
  • Testing/objective evidence

This guidance strongly recommends manufacturers minimize the cybersecurity risks associated with the design, safety and use of the medical devices by carefully following the six principles outlined.

How an MSSP can help with medical device cybersecurity

Transparency

An MSSP can help to guarantee the integrity of medical device networks by providing real-time visibility into device data, creating a secure perimeter and responding quickly to threats. This can prevent disruptions to patient care and ensure that patients’ data is protected. 

MSSPs can also provide cybersecurity training to healthcare professionals who are on-the-ground and responsible for patient care. By improving the overall security posture of medical devices, they can safeguard patients as well as the reputations of providers.

Risk management

Risk management services protect their clients by conducting a thorough evaluation of the medical device’s cybersecurity vulnerabilities and threats. They then design and implement a security program that ensures the device is protected from hacking, tampering and loss or theft.

An MSSP can help you find and fix vulnerabilities in your systems, applications, networks and devices before an attacker can get access to them.

Risk analysis 

A risk analysis is an examination of the risks a network faces and the weaknesses in the network. An MSSP can conduct a risk analysis to determine a device’s vulnerabilities and provide recommendations for improvement. If a device has a high risk of being compromised, the MSSP can help you replace the device with a more secure version. 

For example, a medical device manufacturer may allow a software developer to test the software for security vulnerabilities on their product before it is released to the public. If vulnerabilities are found, then the software developer may begin working with the device manufacturer to address those issues in order to prevent unauthorized access.

Device auditing

Device auditing is the process of examining a device’s software, firmware, and operational procedures. An MSSP can audit a device’s software and firmware to detect weaknesses. They can also examine the device’s operational procedures to ensure it is being used properly. 

Maintaining compliance

Healthcare organizations need to take steps towards regulatory compliance to ensure that the devices they produce continue to be safe and effective.

It’s critical medical device manufacturers and healthcare professionals take steps to prevent cyber-attacks from happening, and regulatory compliance is an important part of this process. It helps ensure that medical device companies comply with all applicable laws and regulations that protect both patients and the overall health care system.

Ensure your medical devices are protected

Medical devices are a major target for cyber-attacks and cyber-criminals are constantly looking for new ways to compromise the security of such devices. An MSSP can provide expertise in information security, threat assessment, vulnerability testing and more.

BCS365 is an established MSSP with years of experience partnering with healthcare and biotech organizations. They can help protect your medical devices’ networks from cyber-attacks, minimize risks and assist with regulatory compliance.

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