Securing the mobile workforce in healthcare
The rapid development of digital technologies has fuelled the growth of, and need for, a mobile workforce. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of mobile workers was predicted to climb to 1.87 billion by 2022, accounting for 42.5 percent of the global workforce – and the shift to temporary remote working engendered by the pandemic will further accelerate this trend for many businesses. Healthcare is no exception. The global healthcare mobility solutions market is forecasted to grow 25 percent year-on-year and be worth over £81 million by 2025.
With mobile being so ubiquitous, most healthcare organisations have a mobility strategy. Yet the rapid nature of technological innovation, combined with an explosion in data traffic, means these strategies must be constantly revised to meet the security challenges faced by the mobile workforce.
Understanding the risks
Increased mobile device adoption has enabled better access to patient information, which has improved workflows. But while healthcare IT decision-makers appreciate the benefits of mobile working, it’s also critical they understand the risks. Healthcare is a significant data producer, whether that be patient records, or more recently, information from IoT monitoring devices. This ever-increasing amount of data provides cyber criminals with greater opportunities to target healthcare providers.
Healthcare organisations can mitigate this threat through employee and device investment. According to a recent reader poll from Health Business, conducted for dynabook, just 18 percent of healthcare professionals said their organisation offered data security training, while 12 percent stated that training is not compulsory and take-up is poor.
With cyberattacks increasing over 350 percent annually, it’s imperative security training becomes a priority. This is particularly pressing amidst the stress and confusion of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 80 percent of such threats using the virus as a theme in their messages. This makes up-to-date, specialised training yet more crucial.
Securing the mobile workforce also relies on getting security right at device-level. Field workers must be equipped with robust devices that can protect them against cyber risks. For example, devices with advanced biometric features and hardware-based credential storage capabilities enhance protection against password or access hacking.
Eliminating the threat
Mobile working creates a larger device infrastructure, which must be managed. Solutions like Mobile Zero Clients protect against unsolicited access and data loss, wherever a device is. These tools eliminate the device-level threat by taking data off the device when not in use. Data under central storage is better protected, in the event of device loss, and can be accessed more securely in real-time; even when healthcare workers are visiting patients in secondary locations.
At this time of rapid innovation, solutions like these can prove invaluable to healthcare providers in creating progressive mobile security strategies. As technologies such as 5G and IoT move into the mainstream, security challenges will grow. Balancing mobility, security and productivity in business strategies is crucial for all organisations.
By Nick Offin, Head of Sales, Marketing and Operations, dynabook Northern Europe
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