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Survey: Healthcare Pros Challenged to Identify, Mitigate Medical Device Security Risks

August 16, 2017
by Rajiv Leventhal
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More than one-third (36 percent) of surveyed professionals in the Internet of Things (IoT)-connected medical device ecosystem say their organizations have experienced a cybersecurity incident in the past year, according to a recent Deloitte poll.

Another 37 percent of respondents said that their organizations did not experience such an incident in the last year, while 27 percent said they didn’t know if they did. In May, some 370 professionals whose organizations operate in the medical device/IoT ecosystem responded to poll questions during a Deloitte Dbriefs webcast. Respondent organizations include medical device or component manufacturers; healthcare IT organizations; medical device users; and regulators.

What’s more, identifying and mitigating the risks of fielded and legacy connected devices presents the industry's biggest cybersecurity challenge according to respondents (30 percent), according to the research. Additional cybersecurity challenges that connected medical devices presented to respondents included embedding vulnerability management into the design phase of medical devices (20 percent), monitoring and responding to cybersecurity incidents (20 percent), and lack of collaboration on cyber threat management throughout the connected medical device supply chain (18 percent).

Beyond cybersecurity risk management itself, there are post-incident risk management efforts to attend to as well. Few respondents (19 percent) say their organizations are "very prepared" to address litigation, internal investigations or regulatory matters related to medical device cybersecurity incidents in the next 12 months. Meanwhile, 56 percent said they were “somewhat prepared” and 13 percent they were not prepared to address these issues in the next year.

“As regulatory, litigation, and internal investigation activities start to focus on post-market cybersecurity management, leading organizations are taking a more forensic approach to discerning the timeline and size of cyber incidents so the impact to intellectual property, client data and other areas can be addressed more quickly," Scott Read, Deloitte risk and financial advisory principal, Deloitte Transactions and Business Analytics LLP, noted in a statement. "Forensic analyses responding to regulator, litigant, or whistleblower concerns may even help predict the next moves of cyber attackers."

One of Healthcare Informatics’ Top Ten Tech Trends for 2017, medical device cybersecurity has been a hot industry topic of late as threats continue to increase. A recent survey found that only 9 percent of manufacturers and 5 percent of HDOs (healthcare delivery organizations) said they test medical devices at least once a year, while 53 percent of HDOs and 43 percent of manufacturers said they do not test devices at all.

“It's not surprising that managing cyber risks of existing IoT medical devices is the top concern facing manufacturers, providers, and regulators," Russell Jones, Deloitte risk and financial advisory partner, Deloitte & Touche LLP, said in a statement. "Legacy devices can have outdated operating systems and may be on hospital networks without proper security controls. Connected device cybersecurity can start in the early stages of new device development, and should extend throughout the product's entire lifecycle; but even this can lead to a more challenging procurement process. There is no magic bullet solution."

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