Securing mobile working in healthcare
28th January 2020 – Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Dramatic developments in digital technologies have fuelled the growth and need for a mobile workforce.
The number of mobile workers is predicted to climb to 1.87 billion by 2022, accounting for almost half (42.5%) of the global workforce. The healthcare industry is no exception to this. In fact, the global healthcare mobility solutions market is predicted to experience a 25% year on year growth over the next few years and will be worth over AED 38.6 million by 2025.
The majority of organisations have a mobility strategy in place with this in mind, yet the fast-paced nature of technology innovation, and rapid data explosion driven by the Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G means that such strategies need to be constantly revised and updated to meet the latest demands and the data security challenges that come with a mobile workforce.
Mobile working to boost patient care
Mobile working is not a new phenomenon in the health industry. The sector has employed remote workers before the days of devices and apps. Advances in technology, however, have enabled better patient care outside of traditional medical facilities. Increased adoption of mobile working devices has enabled better access to patient information, which ultimately leads to improved workflows and a higher standard of care. The National Mobile Worker Project report found that with the community carers group who work remotely, productivity levels increased by 40 per cent.
“Mobile working is having a significant impact in changing the relationship between healthcare provider and patient – and technology developments driven by the IoT are driving digital transformations which provide better customer services and ultimately better care,” said Damian Jaume, President Dynabook Europe GmbH.
Futureproofing mobile working
While recognising the benefits Jaume, however, raised a red-flag on the risks saying, “The healthcare industry is a significant producer of data, whether that be medical notes and images, insurance claims, or, more recently, information from wearables and IoT monitoring devices. This ever-multiplying amount of high-value information creates greater opportunities for cyber criminals to target healthcare organisations. The average cost of cyberattacks on healthcare organisations is approx. AED 45 million.”
According to a recent reader poll from Health Business, conducted for Dynabook, just 18 per cent of healthcare professionals said their organisation offers data security training, while 12 per cent stated that the take-up of training is poor and not compulsory.
Jaume endorsed, “With cyber-attacks on all industries growing more than 350% annually, it’s imperative training becomes a greater priority. However, education can only play one small part. Securing the mobile workforce means getting security right at a device level and equipping workers in the field with robust devices that can protect them against potential cyber risks.”
It is important to remember that devices which have advanced biometric features and hardware-based credential storage capabilities enhances protection against password or access hacking, while Mobile Zero Clients eliminate the device level-threat by removing data from the devices themselves and instead storing it centrally.
Eliminating the device-level threat
Mobile working creates a much wider network of device infrastructure to be managed, solutions such as Mobile Zero Clients help to protect against unsolicited access and data loss wherever a device is. Such tools help to nullify the device-level threat by withdrawing data from the device itself when not in use. By placing data under central storage and management rather than at a device-level, it is protected in the event of loss, or theft, and remains accessible in the most secure way possible. Healthcare workers can view data in real-time even when visiting patients in secondary locations, be that via home visits, or at other medical facilities, and remain confident that this data is safe when they have finished with a patient.
Jaume concluded: “Decision makers will be forced to put adequate strategies in place to meet the latest demands and the data security challenges that come with a mobile workforce. In the rapidly changing world of IT infrastructure an effective 2020 mobility strategy is essential.”
With the anticipated roll-out of 5G network services, businesses should be able to more effectively manage the volume of information produced by IoT. However, organisations will also need to address the security challenges that accompany 5G. Balancing mobility and security for all organisations is, therefore, imperative.