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8 Questions Your Board Will Ask About Your Cybersecurity Program

8 Questions Your Board Will Ask About Your Cybersecurity Program | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Cybersecurity coverage is a critical concern for every modern business. Whether you're a growing company or an established multinational business, your IT infrastructure needs to be secured against a growing range of threats. 

 

An effective cybersecurity program needs to be both robust and capable of change. All possible threats and risk tolerance levels must be clearly defined and managed from the outset. Active participation by all stakeholders is required to ensure the best possible outcomes. 

 

From setting the direction of the program to making operational decisions and providing oversight, the board of directors and all C-suite executives need to understand, engage with, and take ownership of the program.

 

Let's look at eight big questions you need to answer to give your board full confidence in your cybersecurity coverage.

1) What attributes define a complete cybersecurity strategy?

A comprehensive cybersecurity program needs to protect relevant corporate information and systems, both now and in the future. Cybersecurity is all about managing cyber risk.  To properly manage cyber risk, it is critical to have a basic understanding of the key components of a comprehensive and mature cybersecurity program.  By comprehensive and mature we mean broad and deep.  Broad – including all of the key components, and deep – ensuring that each key component is addressed to the degree that mitigates the cyber risk to the level that is acceptable to the Board and C-Suite.

 

Before you can protect the data that defines your organization, it's important to evaluate your current systems based on their structural integrity and ability to adapt. 

  • Maturity and consistency - Maturity is based on consistency over an extended period. This doesn't happen by accident, with effective security solutions adapted carefully to meet the specific needs of an organization. Your security architecture needs to be defined, your documentation needs to be thorough, and your working practices need to align with your security goals.
  • Flexibility and agility - Modern computer systems are changing all the time, and effective security solutions need to adapt to the wider world. Agility and flexibility are critical as security breaches often take place immediately after an update. If maturity is defined by the structural integrity of your security framework, then agility is defined as your ability to respond effectively at any given moment.

2) Have we got adequate review and training initiatives?

Effective cybersecurity solutions demand continual reviews, updates, and training initiatives. Whether it's buying new computers, updating network protocols, or training staff, security risk assessment is an ongoing process that helps to identify risk and ensure compliance at every turn.

 

Your cybersecurity program needs to be reviewed periodically by an independent and objective third party to ensure the relevance of hardware tools, systems and services, and human beings. Updates are not enough in isolation, with alignment between hardware and software, and software and staff also needed. 

 

Security risk assessments, ongoing testing, and awareness training are all required to mitigate risk and ensure safety. Employee training initiatives have a particularly vital role to play, with security breaches often the result of poorly trained staff or incomplete training methods that fail to align with technology updates. 

3) How do we ensure compliance?

Compliance is a critical element of IT security. Regulations put in place across industry sectors help to define appropriate levels of risk and protect information. Whether it's the CSF framework defined by the NIST, the HITECH Act legislation for health providers, or the HIPAA legislation to promote data privacy and security, your organization needs to ensure compliance at every level.

Active participation by all stakeholders is an essential part of the compliance process as well. To meet your obligations, you need to be aware of them first. From there, you can put appropriate measures in place to ensure your security and operational coverage. 

Compliance is about more than ticking boxes. It is an effective strategy and an essential part of your wider security stance.

Below are a few of the most important compliance standards:

  • NIST and CSF - The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) promotes a Cyber Security Framework (CSF) to help organizations better manage and reduce their cybersecurity risk. This framework is used to create consistent standards and guidelines across industry sectors. It is also used to augment specific industry regulations like HIPAA.
  • HITECH and HIPAA - While HITECH and HIPAA are separate laws, they often reinforce each other and both apply to the health industry. The HITECH Act was created in 2009 to support the secure adoption of electronic health records, with HIPAA adopted in 1996 to protect the security and privacy of patient health data.     

Learn more about common compliance regulations here.

4) How do we establish an acceptable risk tolerance level?

While protecting your organization demands diligence at every turn, a no-compromise attitude is rarely effective. Zero risk is impossible as a realistic protection objective, with each organization needing to decide how much loss they can tolerate before a threshold of damage is breached. 

Defining an appropriate level of acceptance or tolerance to risk is one of the most important discussions you can have. To quantify these risks, you must identify likely threats and their potential financial impacts. Security breaches can be significant because they influence both productivity losses and the cost of cleanup.

Before you can set up a robust and effective cybersecurity program, it's important to establish an acceptable risk tolerance level. What value are you trying to protect? And what price are you willing to pay to protect it properly? The NIST Risk Management Framework (RMF) is one important framework used to measure risk tolerance. 

5) Are we aware of our existing vulnerabilities?

Professional vulnerability assessment is needed to measure risk and allocate resources effectively. To align the potential impact of each security incident with an acceptable level of risk, it's important to carry out a professional vulnerability assessment. By breaking down your current security infrastructure, you can find existing vulnerabilities and create solutions that protect your organization.

6) What is our incident response plan?

Incident response and management is an important part of every cybersecurity strategy. While proactive measures are critical, it's just as important to have a response plan in place if something does go wrong. A comprehensive cyber incident management plan involves dedicated recovery measures for specific breaches. This multi-pronged reactive process must begin immediately following an intrusion and be able to adapt to changing circumstances.

7) Have we thought of third-party risk management and insurance?

Cybersecurity is an essential part of every vendor relationship, with malware and other forms of malicious code often hidden in supply chain entry points. A vendor may include a cloud service provider, an IT consultant, a data processor, or even an accounting firm.

Vendor policy management and insurance need to be built into every relationship you have, with effective management programs helping to mitigate risk, and insurance providing protection if something does go wrong. You need to understand risk and ensure best practice at every turn and strengthen vendor indemnities by ensuring that all key risk categories are addressed.

Along with mechanisms for vulnerability assessment and incident response, it's also important to consider the contractual language and documentation used to define the vendor relationship. When it comes to insurance, you need to be protected against internal and vendor-based threats. It's important to mandate your company as an additional insured on all third-party insurance policies.

8) What is the roadmap towards comprehensive  coverage?

Robust and effective cybersecurity demands resources and funding, with an ongoing review of your current security program a great place to start. There is a roadmap involved with achieving comprehensive  coverage, from the initial security assessment through to ongoing testing procedures, incident response plans, equipment updates, and employee training. 

While asking questions is a great place to start, proactive measures, professional solutions, and insurance are needed to ensure comprehensive  coverage in the months and years ahead. 

Effective security measures demand diligence and constant engagement. From your technology and software systems to the people who use them every day, safety and compliance demand your full attention.

Cybersecurity and compliance is a team initiative that demands engagement at every level. From the board and C-suite executives who make the decisions to the people who work with the technology, security is everyone's responsibility.

 

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
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inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
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Healthcare Industry: 5 Key Areas Security Professionals Should Consider

Healthcare Industry: 5 Key Areas Security Professionals Should Consider | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

The Healthcare industry by its very nature is populated with some amazing people who are devoted to those in need of physical and mental care. Given this noble cause, it was perfectly understandable for them to ask “Why would someone attack us?” when WannaCry hit their sector.

 

In my opinion, the WannaCry compromise was the crescendo of almost a decade’s worth of neglect. Unpatched servers, legacy applications, forgotten risk registers and discarded business cases for investment all played their part. However, it did answer the million-dollar-question asked of all security teams: “What is the real risk of us being attacked?”

 

At the time of the attack, security teams across the country were rallying to resolve the issue, with many (I’m sure) searching for evidence that they had once warned their organization of the dangers of poor cyber-response arrangements and poor patch management.

 

Dare we ask how many servers compromised by WannaCry only required a reboot to enable the patch – denied only because no agreement could be reached to arrange a maintenance window?

As sad and as controversial it sounds, sometimes it takes an incident of this magnitude and publicity for organizations to remember the basics. Despite the irresistible urge for some to shout “I told you so,” we must understand how we can improve now that we have the attention of executive management who wish to avoid the implications of another WannaCry.

 

In recent years, I spent less time on policy and more on advising on change – mostly trying to mediate between innovation and security. In adapting my thinking to include transformation and change, I have identified five key areas I believe all security (and IT) professionals should be considering:

1. THE ‘GIG ECONOMY’

Organizations want to try new things and do not want to be bogged down with procedures and policy. However, we must be mindful of integration and support. Get the right contracts in place; secure robust support agreements and software assurance. Do not become dependent on a third-party application. We all know solutions with security flaws with vendors having no appetite to fix them.

Finally, be prepared to forgo the usual third-party assessments for these smaller firms. Streamline it, and document exceptions!

2. DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

The right digital plan must be established. It must be designed with a care plan/business strategy at its heart and underpinned by robust architectural designs and operational basics. Base your security strategy around this, and you will not go far wrong. (It also makes asking for investment far easier!)

3. DATA, DATA, DATA

If you cannot extract data from a solution to demonstrate value and outcomes, why bother with it?

And critically, look for a common integration and data extraction tool rather than a swathe of bespoke interfaces known only to the developer who left the organisation two years ago.

4. A RETIREMENT PLAN

Support functions cannot be expected to support operating systems that are no longer supported by the vendor. Like the financial sector, it will only be a matter of time that the healthcare sector will be required to provide decommissioning plans and timelines.

Be proactive with your hardware; refresh and ensure your third-party vendors are contracted to ensure their applications are supported by the latest technology and operating systems.

5. COURAGE

Finally, we must have the courage to stand up for what we know is the right thing to do: do not be swayed by pressure to adopt bad practice or technology.

Whilst saying “No” is never really an option, the transferral of risk certainly is.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
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Are medical devices a security risk for your healthcare organization?

Are medical devices a security risk for your healthcare organization? | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Medical organizations are taking advantage of the IoT (Internet of Things) with Medical Devices

Your medical organization likely implements hundreds to thousands of class 3 medical devices every year.  From heart monitors to hip implants, these devices are amazing innovations that are extending and improving quality of life.  These devices come equipped with features like wireless connectivity and remote monitoring which allow for noninvasive adjustments which reduces the cost, risk and frequency of visits for the patient.

 

What are the risks associated with Medical Devices? 

As a healthcare organization implementing these devices, it is also extremely important for you to understand the risks associated with these devices.

Many manufacturers lack the technical skills required to implement security controls.  Security must be a collaborative effort between manufacturers and hospital systems.  New devices arriving in hospitals were designed at least 5-6 years ago.  Comparatively, if you connect a computer from that long ago to the internet, you can expect compromise within 10 minutes without security software or updates.  What's more, some wearable devices may be implanted for 15 years on average causing a huge security risk for the patient.

Medical devices currently lack the capacity to detect threats.  It is difficult to integrate security controls into medical devices because of their critical function.  In many cases, the medical device will continue to be used even if a security flaw is detected because healthcare providers have no alternative option, the device is required to manage the patient’s health.

The FDA does provide guidance regarding medical devices, but it is not enforcing regulations.  The FDA wants manufacturers to focus on the safety and functionality of these devices instead of putting the burden of compliance on them.  A high profile case involving a pacemaker administered by Saint Jude Medical was actually the first case of a FDA recall of a medical device in 2017.  This was their first major move since issuing an alert for cyber risks of infusion pumps in 2015 which led to their guidance for medical devices in 2016.

Are you taking steps to protect your patients and organization while using medical devices?

Security risk is a patient safety issue.  Medical devices implanted into your patients carry their data and perform critical functions to maintain patient’s lives.  Loss or alteration of patient data could also present an issue to your patient’s health as they can be denied coverage or treatment as a result.  As a healthcare organization it is your responsibility to monitor your healthcare devices and their security as well.

The responsibility of maintaining medical device security is shared among manufacturers, hospitals and IT professionals.  The first step hospitals can take to ensure patient safety with medical devices is to work with manufacturers who adhere to FDA Cybersecurity guidelines.  Always ask your manufacturer about Cyber security.  Hospitals should adopt a testing schedule for medical devices.  Knowing which devices are in use, and what potential security risks these devices may have can lower the chance of problems occurring once they have been implanted. 

Many hospitals have their CIOs overseeing medical device management, not hospital IT, this means that clinical or biomedical engineering staff with little understanding of cybersecurity risks are connecting and monitoring medical devices on hospital networks.  As demonstrated time and again, medical devices can be used as an entry point into the hospital network, to reprogram and execute patients or even hold them at ransom.

T professionals at hospitals need to think differently about medical devices in the IoT than they do about their hospital network security.  Consider how the medical device and EMR are identifying the patient, this protects the data as it is transmitted.  Use security, authentication and access controls to confirm the patient's identity to ensure the data cannot be altered.  Always use devices which capture date and timestamps so the provider knows when the data was gathered. Data transmission protocols should be adopted per device.  You may manually transmit data from the patient's device during a visit or automatically transmit that data via the internet.  Encryption should always be used to protect data transmissions.

By being proactive regarding your medical device management, you are preparing for security risks that may arise.  

 

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
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Is Cloud Storage Right For Your Business? 

Is Cloud Storage Right For Your Business?  | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Is Cloud Storage Right For Your Business? Some Pros and Cons to Consider

 

Due to the rising bandwidth requirements and shift toward wireless systems, the enterprise network equipment market is projected to hit $30.6 billion by 2020. Cloud equipment is becoming an increasingly popular investment for many small and mid-sized companies. Before you determine whether or not cloud equipment is the right investment for your business, it’s important to know the facts. Here are just a few basic pros and cons of cloud storage options.

PRO: Accessibility

First, cloud storage comes in many different platforms, one popular option being Meraki equipment. Professional Meraki support is also available to ensure adequate storage and data protection. Furthermore, cloud storage offers optimal accessibility — users can seamlessly view and upload data from anywhere with an Internet connection. This also means that time zones won’t be an issue.

CON: Potential Privacy Risks

Redundant data centers provide almost complete (99.99%) reliability, including local network functions still working if the Meraki dashboard went down. While the majority of cloud providers offer nothing but virtually 100% reliable service, there are some providers that may take improper measures and leave your data vulnerable. Our Meraki specialists offer expert Meraki support, ensuring your data is as protected as possible at all times, so this should never be an issue with our services.

PRO: Reduced Operating Costs

About 82% of companies surveyed said that they saved money by moving to the cloud, and it’s likely that yours will too. This is a direct result of the nature of cloud technology.

“Cloud storage for your business will come at little or no cost for a small or medium-sized organization. This will reduce your annual operating costs and even more savings because it does not depend on internal power to store information remotely,” writes Amy Pritchett on CompareTheCloud.

CON: Potential for Complexity

Finally, it may be challenging to get all employees properly trained on new cloud services and technology for your business. But with some time, anyone can learn and use it effectively.

When all is said and done, 80% of cloud adopters saw improvements within six months of moving to the cloud. Being able to weigh the pros and cons of this innovative technology can help you make the best decisions for your business.

 

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
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inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
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6 Reasons Why NOT Having Your Server In-house is a Good Idea

6 Reasons Why NOT Having Your Server In-house is a Good Idea | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Benefits of having cloud based laboratory information system.

The myths surrounding data storage on Cloud are many. Most of us have preconceived notions regarding data safety and security, data vulnerability, storage, data retrieval& transfer, etc. However, what we fail to remember is that data storage on Cloud is extremely reliable and robust with most banks and financial institutions using it seamlessly. Therefore, it is about time that the healthcare fraternity embraces Cloud wholeheartedly to explore and take complete advantage of this cutting edge technology solution.

 

Today, we take a peek into the most evident advantages of having your Laboratory Information System on Cloud and what makes it one of the smartest business choices you will ever make:

1. No Hassle in data Accessibility

In this age of evidence-based medicine, data accessibility is of paramount importance as far as effective patient care is concerned. Cloud-based LIS makes data accessibility much easier as compared to the LIS, which is located in on-site servers. Since the data is stored on the Cloud, information from multiple centers can be accessed from anywhere, anytime. Cloud-based LIS makes it easy for data to be accessed from any location or any device through secure logins thereby speeding up the whole process of pathological deductions and decisions leading to faster report turn around.

2. Your Data Remains Ultra Safe

One of the major concerns in a laboratory information system is the security of the patient data that is generated on a daily basis and stored on the servers. Cloud-based LIS takes care of this perfectly. The data in the Cloud-based LIS is stored in encrypted form that has high security levels and cannot be accessed in usable form by anyone other than authorized personnel with access rights. With practically no server downtime as compared to the on-site servers, Cloud-based LIS relieves the user of any operational problems and data security issues that result from server downtime.

3. Reduced IT Requirements

A Cloud-based LIS means that the servers are off-site and all the costs associated with the hardware installation and the associated maintenance is nullified. The easy accessibility associated with Cloud based LIS also makes it simple to add users, centers, sections, services etc. to the master log. This means you don’t have to go hunting for the in-house IT team; and anyone who has the login with administrator rights can do it easily. You effectively save additional manpower cost spent on maintaining a big IT team to maintain the server, add/ edit the master logs and related activities.

4. Staggered Investments

Cloud-based LIS gives the laboratory owner the option of not buying a large server at the onset and thereby blocking up money. It takes away the risk of projecting the growth of the lab correctly and buying a server that will be able to scale and handle the data and operations load of that projected growth. Cloud-based LIS means the server space can be hired as and when the growth happens. There is no prior commitment and no blocked investment. Investment on server space only needs to happen when the need arises and that too, only as an added amount in the form of simple monthly utility fees.

5. Cost Effective

The most obvious reason why Cloud-based Laboratory Information System is a smart business choice is due to its cost effectiveness. As the servers are off-site, it requires no hardware installation and the resultant licensing fees, maintenance costs and the software updates that will keep happening life-long for the software can be cut out immediately. There is no cost of hardware either and only monthly utility fees is what you need to pay.

6. Practically Zero Maintenance

With no server within your premises you don’t need to worry about the safety of the server room, temperature maintenance, pest control, server downtime, software updates and other such factors. Fixed amounts as monthly utility fee will take care of all this for you.

Having a Cloud based LIS can smoothen your operations to a large extent. It makes automation a cost effective option and also leaves you with more time to focus on the core operations, and taking care of your patients.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
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inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
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Things to consider when upgrading your computers

Things to consider when upgrading your computers | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

The health industry is continuing to grow with massive investments in technology and related processes to meet today’s industry needs for increased collaboration, cross-entity, and platform integration as well as the need to achieve more by doing less. Those factors highlighted above have prompted the need for health businesses to invest in implementing IT solutions, which for the health industry fall under the eHealth banner.

 

Through our experience in implementing IT platforms for different size health businesses, we would like to share the top ten tips to save you time, money and potential headaches.

 

Technology makes your life easy: This is the main reason why we have the technology and invest in IT solutions. You need to know why you need to implement a new IT solution and appreciate that change is coming. Whether it’s changing from a paper-based system to a paperless system or complying with new industry standards, IT solutions will allow you to continue your clinical work and help minimize the administration cost. Make sure you know why you are implementing a new IT solution and set the expectations straight away.

 

Ask for a solution design proposal: As a specialist eHealth/IMIT firm we design new solutions for health businesses every day. No business is the same and no IT solution is the same. eHealth professionals know the industry requirements, they know the technology lifecycle and will know what works for your business. Ask an expert to design and scope an IT solution tailored for your business. Call different IT providers and ask them to provide their own solution/design. This way you will have options to choose from.

 

Don’t cut corners with the server: Simply the most important aspect of a clinical IT environment. The server will host your business, clinical and billing data. The server ensures that you and your staff have access to all the relevant tools and data to keep on working. Ensure that your server is a brand name (NOT PUT TOGETHER USING DIFFERENT BITS AND PIECES), ensure the server comes with at least a three-year warranty (or purchase an extension)and, most importantly, ensure that the server can handle business and data growth. You are thereby futureproofing your IT environment.

 

Technicalities of the server: Again, no business is the same. However, there is a common denominator when looking for a small/medium size server. Ask for:

  • Quad core CPU (Xeon processor) for future application/data load
  • 16GB RAM to handle more users, data, and load
  • RAID 1 configuration using SAS drives to ensure that should the hard drive fail, there is a second one to take over
  • Dual power supply to ensure the server keeps working should the primary power supply fail (it happens)
  • UPS to protect your server and data should a power outage occur
  • Windows server operating system to run your applications, store your data and ensure a secure platform

 

Backup and disaster recovery: Backup solutions ensure that your business/clinical data is safe and can be recovered should there be any data loss. Having said that, the ability to recover the data quickly and efficiently is just as important. The correct disaster recovery solution will save you a lot of time and money. Below is a quick solution guide that you can use:

 

  • Buy an imaging software like Shadow Protector Backup Assist. Ask for a daily image of your server to be implemented
  • Use USB 3.0 hard drives to back up your image (from above) and clinical data. Rotate the hard drive on a daily basis
  • Use USB thumb drives to back up the clinical data only and rotate daily

 

What about the workstations?: Easy. If the server solution is: Terminal server: Ask for thin client terminals also known as dummy terminals. Those are devices without any hard drives and connect directly to the server. Standard server/workstation environment: We recommend i5 dual-core processors with 8GB RAM and Windows 7 64-bit (do not purchase anything older than Windows 7)

 

The implementation: Ensure hiring of an IT firm that specializes in the health industry. They will liaise with the different software vendors, pathologies and ensure that your new IT environment meets the RACGP standards so you can get accredited. Remember to also ask the IT firm to ensure that your practice meets the new e-PIP requirements. Most importantly, ask the IT firm to provide a project plan and an implementation plan with deadlines on when you will obtain the hardware, the time to implementation and handover dates.

 

Security tips: This is quite simple. Ask for a top brand antivirus program to be installed and configured on all devices. I tend to recommend ESET NOD32. Ask for the network to be set up as a domain and not a workgroup. Ask for different user groups (staff, management, administrators) where the staff isn’t allowed to install any software, management can install on the workstations and administrator group has full access. Set up each user with their own password and ask them to change it every three months. Avoid Wi-Fi and use standard LAN.

 

Remote login: Do you work from different locations (aged care visits, home visits) and would like to access your clinical IT environment? There are a number of options that we recommend, one being implementing a VPN (Virtual Private Network) or an RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol configuration). Your IT provider will advise on the best solution. However, you must be sure to tell them that you wish to log in remotely before committing to any hardware/solution.

 

All businesses are different and as such, IT solutions will differ per business requirements, size and budget. The most important thing is to ensure that the server has at least a three-year lifecycle and have the selected solution implemented by professionals. This will save you time and money in the future.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
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inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
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How Serious is the Cybersecurity Talent Shortage? 

How Serious is the Cybersecurity Talent Shortage?  | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Across all industries worldwide, cybersecurity has become a top priority. Hackers keep pumping out new types of malware, and data breaches keep occurring. As of April 8, there were already 281 breaches exposing nearly 6 million records in 2019 so far, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. Businesses can’t afford to sit back and wait until they’re attacked to defend themselves against cybercriminals.

 

With the average cost of a data breach globally totaling $3.86 million according to IBM and the Ponemon Institute, the wisest course of action is to proactively protect your organization with a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy.

 

However, everyone looking to effectively combat IT security threats faces a significant obstacle: a cybersecurity talent shortage. If you’re a business leader seeking to minimize your data breach risk, consider the following information on the extent of this issue and what you can do to overcome it.

 

The Cybersecurity Workforce Gap by the Numbers (ISC)² – an international, nonprofit association for information security professionals – released a report on the cybersecurity workforce gap in 2018. The report draws on a survey of nearly 1,500 cybersecurity pros and IT pros who spend at least 25 percent of their time on cybersecurity tasks.

 

Here are a few key statistics from the report that illustrate the extent of the talent shortage: The global shortage of cybersecurity professionals is approximately 2.93 million. 63 percent of survey respondents said their organizations have a shortage of IT staff focused on cybersecurity. 59 percent also say their organizations have a moderate or extreme cyberattack risk level because they lack sufficient cybersecurity talent. “Awareness of the cybersecurity skills shortage has been growing worldwide,” the report’s introduction states.

 

“Nevertheless, that workforce gap continues to grow, putting organizations at risk. Despite increases in tech spending, this imbalance between supply and demand of skilled professionals continues to leave companies vulnerable.” What’s Behind the Cybersecurity Talent Gap?

 

The increasing popularity of e-commerce and the rise of new technologies like mobile devices and the Internet of Things has created more opportunities for cybercrime. In the past few years, in particular, the demand for cybersecurity talent has surged, according to Verizon. Basically, the supply hasn’t had time to catch up to the skyrocketing demand. Universities and training programs need time to develop the right courses so that job candidates have the cybersecurity skills companies are searching for, Verizon explains.

 

However, it will take a while for college students to complete the new coursework and find their way into the workforce. Another, faster answer to the talent shortage is for workers to learn through on-the-job training.

 

What Can Businesses that Need IT Security Expertise Do to Overcome the Talent Gap? There are several ideas out there already concerning how to remedy the growing and highly concerning cybersecurity skills shortage.

 

Here are a few notable proposals: Form an industry-wide alliance: If large enterprises in the IT world (e.g., Dell, Cisco, Microsoft, Google and so on) join forces, they could put cybersecurity training programs in motion to address the talent shortage, according to the CSO opinion piece “The cybersecurity skills shortage is getting worse” by Jon Oltsik, a principal analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group. Broaden the job search to include candidates with the potential to learn.

 

Companies shouldn’t necessarily rule out professionals who don’t have the ideal qualifications in terms of degrees, certifications, and experience, Arctic Wolf Networks CEO Brian NeSmith advises in the Forbes article “The Cybersecurity Talent Gap Is An Industry Crisis.” Be open-minded and consider that intelligent candidates with great problem-solving skills might do well in the role, even if they don’t have all the prerequisites.

 

Turn to a third-party provider for assistance. A managed security services provider like Stratosphere Networks can help you gain access to high-level cybersecurity expertise while still containing costs. Services such as virtual CISO and CSO can give you all the benefits of having a security pro on staff without drawbacks like the price of training and hiring an in-house executive.

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3 Cisco Cloud Security Products to Check Out 

3 Cisco Cloud Security Products to Check Out  | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Cisco continues to evolve its cloud security profile with new developments from Meraki, Umbrella and Duo products. These three products are made to seamlessly integrate with your systems to better protect your business. Learn more about each below.

Cisco Meraki

Cisco Meraki combines security cameras, cloud-management, and analytics with the MV lineup. The MV22 and MV72 cameras provide reliable security. They are easy to set up and manage through the Meraki dashboard. This tool eliminates the single point of failure, so you don’t have to worry about one camera failing and taking down the whole system. Both models have 256GB of solid states storage and up to 1080 pixels of high definition resolution. The Meraki dashboard allows for monitoring and management of all cameras from anywhere in one or multiple locations with no extra software required. The dashboard uses analytics to provide valuable insights to protect your business. An example is performing a motion search, which can detect people using pixels at certain periods of time during the day. Additionally, under the Meraki brand, the Meraki SD-WAN is 100% centralized cloud management for security, networking and application control. The dashboard enables network admins to view networked clients, bandwidth consumption, and application usage across all sites. Some of its features include no external modem, high availability, and advanced security license/firewire.

Cisco Umbrella

Cisco Umbrella Solution is a cloud-based secure internet gateway and provides the first line of defense from threats on the internet – even if the end-user is working remotely from a company device or their own computer. The Umbrella boasts an easy deployment and an even easier system to operate. It integrates directly with Meraki products and the rest of the Cisco security profile. With Umbrella, users are protected anywhere they access the internet with or without a VPN. The DNS is the biggest threat to security and most of the time isn’t monitored. The Umbrella Cloud Solution solves this gap as the first line of defense. It not only solves requests, but it also looks at comparisons in the data to better detect similar threats from cyber fingerprints used by attackers.

Duo

The duo is the most recent addition to the Cisco family. This tool offers a streamlined way to improve the user experience during the multi-factor authorization while also protecting your business. The duo takes it a step further by checking devices managed and unmanaged to ensure it meets security standards before granting access. 


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The dangers of autocomplete passwords

The dangers of autocomplete passwords | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Hackers have found a new way to track you online. Aside from using advertisements and suggestions, they can now use autocomplete passwords to track you down. Feeling insecure? Here are some ways to keep you out of harm’s way.

Why auto-fill passwords are so dangerous

As of December 2018, there are 4.1 billion internet users in the world. This means users have to create dozens of passwords, either to protect their account or simply to meet the password-creation requirements of the platform they’re using. Unfortunately, only 20% of US internet users have different passwords for their multiple online accounts. 


Certain web browsers have integrated a mechanism that enables usernames and passwords to be automatically entered into a web form. On the other hand, password manager applications have made it easy to access login credentials. But these aren’t completely safe.


Tricking a browser or password manager into giving up this saved information is incredibly simple. All a hacker needs to do is place an invisible form on a compromised webpage to collect users’ login information.

Using auto-fill to track users

For over a decade, there’s been a password security tug-of-war between hackers and cybersecurity professionals. Little do many people know that shrewd digital marketers also use password auto-fill to track user activity.

 

Digital marketing groups AdThink and OnAudience have been placing these invisible login forms on websites to track the sites that users visit. They’ve made no attempts to steal passwords, but security professionals said it wouldn’t have been hard for them to do. AdThink and OnAudience simply tracked people based on the usernames in hidden auto-fill forms and sold the information they gathered to advertisers.

One simple security tip for today

A quick and effective way to improve your account security is to turn off auto-fill in your web browser. Here’s how to do it:

  • If you’re using Chrome – Open the Settings window, click Advanced, and select the appropriate settings under Manage Passwords.
  • If you’re using Firefox – Open the Options window, click Privacy, and under the History heading, select “Firefox will: Use custom settings for history.” In the new window, disable “Remember search and form history.”
  • If you’re using Safari – Open the Preferences window, select the Auto-fill tab, and turn off all the features related to usernames and passwords.

This is just one small thing you can do to keep your accounts and the information they contain safe. 

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The Time to Stop Relying on Spreadsheets Has Arrived

The Time to Stop Relying on Spreadsheets Has Arrived | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Microsoft Excel is used for a wide variety of tasks, from visualizing business data, to tracking work expenses and managing books. But in the age of cloud-empowered productivity and pervasive mobile devices, is the humble spreadsheet keeping pace? While many accountants still seem to enjoy using them, there’s a huge number of tasks that spreadsheets are ill-suited for, like business reporting and project management. Let’s take a closer look at how spreadsheets may be hurting your business, and why custom software that’s powered by a robust database is usually the better solution.

Spreadsheets are Highly Error-Prone

Have you heard of “dueling spreadsheets”? It’s a term that describes when two different versions of the same spreadsheet contain conflicting data. This is an unfortunately common scenario that can arise in a few different ways.

The most common is when spreadsheets aren’t being stored in a centralized location. If one employee downloads a spreadsheet that contains today’s data, but the next day another employee downloads a copy with tomorrow’s data, then a conflict between these two datasets is likely. The problem of dueling spreadsheets is also common when people add or delete information to a single spreadsheet then share it with others via email or cloud file-sharing systems. Which version is which? It’s hard to know.

Because spreadsheets were not built with the security or integrity of data in mind, and offer no reliable way to audit changes, the problem of errors is extremely common. According to MarketWatch, as many as 88% of spreadsheets contain an error, a problem that’s grown so severe; it’s even led to the formation of an organization specifically to address the issue of spreadsheet mistakes.

Spreadsheets Waste Time

According to a report by research and advisory firm Ventata, 44% of businesses struggle with managing their spreadsheets. Their research found that the average employee spends 12 hours a month looking for and correcting errors in spreadsheets. You can read more about that in their blog post here.

In some situations, that 12 hours a month might even be low. Microsoft Excel is not just spreadsheet software, it is, in fact, a Turing complete programming language. If your employees are not experienced Excel users, then the time required to check Excel files for problems could be even greater. Compare these wasted staff-hours with the return of customized software, which provides increased benefits as your company scales, and the problem of spreadsheet error only intensifies.

Spreadsheets Can Lead to Catastrophe

Big businesses have lost enormous amounts of money because of mishandled spreadsheets. Take for example the 6 billion-dollar loss that JP Morgan Chase incurred during the “London Whale” incident, which experts attribute in part to the improper use of spreadsheets. There are many examples of poor Excel usage leading directly to financial losses, such as this 24-million dollar cut and paste error at Canadian power company TransAlta, as well as others.

According to the white paper, Capitalism’s Dirty Little Secret, by global financial modeling and forecasting company F1F9, 1 in 5 businesses have lost money because of spreadsheets. Any loss due to spreadsheet errors, even the relatively small ones that occur at SMBs, should be considered unnecessary and could easily have been avoided with custom software.

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Custom Business Software Addresses All the Shortcomings of Spreadsheets

There’s evidence that shows as a business grows, it becomes more susceptible to financial losses due to spreadsheet errors. Instead of relying on spreadsheets, with all their inefficiencies and pitfalls, growing businesses must look to custom software and database solutions to provide the reliability and efficiency they need to scale. Let’s look at some of the most important benefits custom software can provide.

1 – Purpose-Built for the Future of Your Business
Software that’s specifically designed to improve the operations at your company does so much better than any off-the-shelf product can. Custom software not only responds to the workflows and business rules of your team, it also simplifies your employee training programs by reducing the number of applications your employees need to learn. These are key points that Excel lacks. Don’t adjust your company workflows or personal habits to suit your software — it should be the other way around.

2 – Empowered Data Discovery
The future of productivity points toward deeper integration between data from mobile, IoT, and cloud applications. Unlike Excel, which requires a great deal of skill to use, and doesn’t provide the power most businesses need, custom software sitting atop a database that’s tailored to your requirements can help tie all those sources together and provide a strong foundation for artificial intelligence and analytics.

3 – Security and Compliance Controls
Excel spreadsheets lack stringent access controls, so once your data is exported to Excel, it’s much harder to ensure proper security. The security weaknesses in spreadsheets can have important compliance ramifications for companies in regulated industries, such as finance or healthcare. In comparison, custom software can be built to meet even the strictest security requirement, ensuring seamless integration with your existing network and compliance controls.

4 – Custom Software is Cost Effective
Mentioning customized software makes people instantly think of expensive enterprise solutions that are available to only the largest businesses, but this is far from reality. Today, custom software solutions are readily available to SMBs and often provide cost savings over per-license commercial software. The software development division of Manhattan Tech Support, Exceed Digital, has developed an innovative payment model that allows companies to purchase software on a monthly subscription basis. Would you like to know more?

NYC’s Custom Software Development Partner

Manhattan Tech Support doesn’t just manage the IT and network infrastructure of businesses throughout greater NYC, we also provide world-class software and database development servicesto businesses throughout the United States.

If you want to streamline the flow of data through your company and empower your team with better, more intuitive software, we encourage you to call us at 646-439-3767. We’re always available to help businesses better understand the software development process, and provide them with the expertise they need to make the transition to custom software a success. We look forward to speaking with you!

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3 Smart Ways To Prevent A Cyber Attack

3 Smart Ways To Prevent A Cyber Attack | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Over half (55%) of small to medium sized businesses were victims of cyber attacks within the last 12 months. That being said, it’s more important than ever for small businesses to stay vigilant and avoid a cyber attack at all costs. Here are just a few expert tips to help your business prevent a cyber attack or security breach.

 

Create And Enforce Internal Security Policies
It may sound surprising, but a great number of business security breaches actually occur within the business itself as opposed to originating from an external threat. Usually, this will occur when an employee clicks on a link in an email that contains phishing software. Other times, employees simply use poor passwords that are easily guessed. That’s why educating your employees and forming clear security policies is the first step to gaining control of your IT security. Keep all employees on the same page regarding password protections and provide quarterly training sessions to keep employees updated with the latest security information.

 

Don’t Ignore Update Requests
Your employees have probably done this before — instead of letting their computers update as usual, they’ll keep delaying the process because it’s just not a convenient time for an update. This can weaken your business’s security and prevents your business from achieving true IT optimization and efficiency. Make sure all your employees are paying attention to their update notifications and are installing and implementing updates as soon as possible after they become available.

 

Consider A Managed Services Provider
In addition to taking the previous two preventative measures, your business should also highly consider investing in reliable IT management such as a managed services model to optimize computer network maintenance and greatly reduce or even effectively eliminate the possibility of a cyber attack. In fact, for 38% of companies of all sizes, enhanced security and compliance was the reason for using a managed services provider. Yes, hiring an IT service provider does require an additional investment, but for many businesses, the peace of mind that accompanies is absolutely priceless — not to mention the money and frustration you may be saving if a cyberattack were to occur.

 

Ultimately, knowing how to keep your business’s IT infrastructure as secure as possible is the key to preventing a cyber attack. For more information about IT service providers, contact Manhattan Tech Support.

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Important Factors To Consider While Buying Clinic Management Software 

Important Factors To Consider While Buying Clinic Management Software  | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Choosing the right Clinic Management Software is anything but easy. However, it is one of the best decisions you will ever make that will help you enhance patient care and maximize revenues.

Considering the enormity of the decision and the impact it will have on your clinic’s operational performance, there are critical factors that you may want to consider before the actual buy.

Read through this guide to know the 7 most important factors to consider while buying a Clinic Management Software:

1. How Much Automation Are You Looking At?

There are a lot of options available as far as automating your clinic is concerned. There are exclusive billing or patient records or OPD scheduling software’s available; there are also complete clinic automation softwareavailable which include all the modules like billing, patient records, OPD scheduling, stores, pharmacy and much more. Depending on your budget, the ability to embrace change by your staff and your confidence on automating your processes, choose the right combination for you.

2. How Much Customization Will Be Needed?

No software will come custom made for your clinic because you will have some of your unique processes, which will need customization in your Clinic Management Software. After deciding how much automation you need, next logical step is to decide how much customization would you need and how confident is your vendor of delivering those. Be sure to choose a software that can accommodate all your mandatory requirements.

3. How Integration Friendly Is The Software?

A critical point for consideration while buying a software is how easy will be the transition from your old system to your new system. It is important not to lose any data and choose a software that allows a hiccup free integration. Be sure to consider this factor and also ensure the time it will take to integrate, the downtime involved and the additional investment involved, both in terms of time and money.

4. How Much Time Will Implementation Take?

Timeline for automation goes well beyond buying the product or the hardware and software installation; it is the total implementation including training of the staff and getting them to use all the features of the software. Timelines with target dates for each level of implementation and the cross checking of each level needs to be considered and discussed with complete clarity before the purchase decision is made.

5. How Much Post-Sales Technical Support Will Be Available?

Bought. Installed. Trained. Implemented. What about an unforeseen hiccup after implementation? Each staff member would have understood the technicalities in a different way and there could be a hiccup owing to wrong use or there could be a situation that was not a market reality while implementing the software? It is crucial that technical and training support should be available at a cost, post-sales. Be sure to negotiate a profitable association for the clinic while considering technical support post-sales.

6. Get Clarity

Be clear on how and at what cost will the software and hardware upgrades be implemented, what will be the downtime while the upgrade/s are happening and what will be the training routine post the upgrade/s? These are some critical questions to ensure long-term effective performance of the software and the answer needs to be clear before the buy decision is made.

7. Check Credentials and Certifications

Once you are satisfied with these performance points of the software, do a background check of the company you are finalizing to buy the software from. Check how long they have been in the business, check their clients list and see if they have serviced a clinic of your capacity in terms of specialties and turnover, do they have an experienced team to support you in your automation journey etc. This is to ensure that you have all the information to make the right decision for you.

Given that there are hundreds of points that can be considered while buying a Clinic Management Software, these are the most critical 7 points that cannot be ignored. Ensure these are on your checklist when you initiate your clinic’s automation journey.

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Medical Device Quality: Why Software Is More Challenging Than Hardware

Medical Device Quality: Why Software Is More Challenging Than Hardware | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Quality System Regulation 21 CFR Part 820.30(g) states, “Design validation shall include software validation and risk analysis, where appropriate.” The words, “where appropriate,” indicate that further guidance is necessary to successfully comply with the regulation. FDA’s guidance document, “General Principles of Software Validation,” is an important first read in that regard, but many medical device manufacturers are not sufficiently familiar with it.

 

It is impossible to imagine the medical device industry today without the software revolution. From defibrillators to infusion pumps and robotic surgical systems, a broad range of devices relies on software to function safely and effectively. At the same time, medical device software has introduced a level of complexity that dwarfs anything seen before in the field. This column addresses some basic facts about medical device software and how quality professionals, together with executive management, can work together to ensure that FDA’s rigorous requirements are satisfied.

 

Note that FDA has separate requirements for medical device software and quality system software. This column addresses only the software that is part of a medical device, such as software that triggers an alarm when a product fails. Other software, such as that used by a medical device manufacturer to manage complaints in its quality system, is outside of the scope of this discussion.

 

In October 2017, FDA released two new final guidance documents on the same day: “Deciding When to Submit a 510(k) for a Change to an Existing Device” and “Deciding When to Submit a 510(k) for a Software Change to an Existing Device.” In other words, medical device software changes have so many unique challenges and risks that they earn a guidance document of their own, separate from all other device changes.


The Problem: Software Is Different from Hardware
Validation is at the heart of device design, and the validation of software design is especially challenging. Even though FDA’s guidance document, “General Principles of Software Validation,” was last updated in January 2002, that guidance is still highly relevant and useful. When a medical device incorporates software, FDA expects the manufacturer to be well-read in the guidance document.

 

Furthermore, FDA does not intend the guidance document on software validation to be read only by software developers or quality engineers, as it states, “Software engineering needs an even greater level of managerial scrutiny and control than hardware engineering.” The guidance is written in laymen’s terms, so executive management is not excused from this responsibility, even when they have limited experience in software development.

To get to the heart of the problem, the guidance document on software validation includes the deceptively simple statement: “Software is different from hardware.” Actually, there are many complex differences between software and hardware, and understanding those differences is key to ensuring that software validation will pass FDA muster. The comparison chart (above and on the previous page) is adapted from, and expands on, the FDA guidance.

 

The Solution: Software Validation Driven by Rigorous Requirements


Both of the last two differences in the chart use the phrase, “a clear set of detailed requirements.” This is the most crucial element for proper software validation, and one that is frequently neglected. The flow chart figure on page 20 illustrates how requirements play an early and crucial role in software development.

 

During the phases that developers are coding and testing the software, the requirements enter a tunnel that is closed to non-developers, and the software emerges from the other side as a complete design. The resulting software can support a safe and effective device only if executive management and other stakeholders have reviewed a detailed and unambiguous set of requirements. Quality and regulatory teams can expedite this crucial phase by ensuring smooth communications between engineering and the rest of the organization.

 

At the far end of the tunnel, quality and regulatory conduct the final stages of user site testing with faithful attention to the original requirements. As noted in the list of differences between software and hardware, “user expectations are often unexpected,” and any expectations that were not properly specified as requirements are likely to emerge as errors during testing.

 

Clearly, the future of medical device development is bound up with new advances in software—wearable devices, remote medicine, algorithmic diagnostics, and robotics. FDA expects that manufacturers’ quality systems and design controls will ensure safety and efficacy, even as the software code at the heart of the device remains opaque to executive management. Software design might be more challenging than hardware, but software validation will keep the differences manageable and the quality undiminished.

 

Dan Goldstein is a manager for Quality Assurance at Musculoskeletal Clinical Regulatory Advisors (MCRA), primarily focusing on quality system requirements for bringing new devices to market and keeping experienced manufacturers in compliance with FDA and Notified Bodies. He provides MCRA clients with gap assessments, mock FDA inspections, Form 483 remediations, Design History Files, Technical Files, Summary Technical Documents, and Clinical Evaluation Reports. A graduate of the University of Maryland University College, Dan has worked since 2002 in quality assurance for medical devices, including autologous blood products for wound healing and computer-aided-detection software for lung diseases. Musculoskeletal Clinical Regulatory Advisers LLC has broad experience in the area of software validation. MCRA’s staff is especially adept at promoting and maintaining the lines of communication that keep executive management, the “voice of the customer,” and software developers on the same page with regard to the detailed requirements that drive the development process. The organization believes in requirements that follow the “four Cs”—clear, concise, correct, and complete.

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Malware in the Cloud: What You Need to Know

Malware in the Cloud: What You Need to Know | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Cloud security is not as simple as it may seem. Businesses have a shared security responsibility with cloud service providers, but some lack the knowledge to keep up their share of the bargain. Poor configuration and data leaks are common problems that many businesses encounter in the cloud. These issues can lead to malware infecting your cloud computing environment.

Here are a few of the different types of malware that can disrupt your cloud services.

DDoS Attacks

Botnets are becoming more and more common, with malware-as-a-service being offered by more malicious actors at an increasingly cheap price. Self-service cloud offerings allow these attackers to easily gain access and notoriety by launching large-scale DDoS attacks, which have been measured at speeds of up to 30 Gbps. Since cloud computing hosts multiple customers in a single cloud, these attacks can affect your cloud environment, as well.

Hypercall Attacks

An attacker uses a Virtual Machine (VM) to intrude the victim’s VM by exploiting the Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) hypercall handler. This gives the attacker the ability to access VMM privileges and possibly even execute malicious code.

Hypervisor DoS

This attack uses a high percentage of your hypervisor’s resources in order to leverage flaws in design or setup. Researchers found that this malware accounted for 70 percent of malware attacks targeting cloud providers’ hypervisor, which manages customers’ virtual environments. One study found that 71.2 percent of all Xen and 65.8 percent of all KVM vulnerabilities could be exploited by a guest VM. For the sake of context, AWS uses Xen for its hypervisor, and Google uses a proprietary version of KVM.

Co-Location

An attacker tries to find the target VM’s host in order to place their own VM on the same host. This is used to gain leverage in cross-VM side-channel attacks, such as Flush/Reload or Prime and Probe.

Hyperjacking

This is where an attacker tries to take control of the hypervisor, sometimes using a virtual machine-based rootkit. If the attacker is successful, they will have access to the entire machine. This could be used to change the behavior of the VM, causing it to be partially or fully compromised.

Man in the middle (MITM)

MITM is when an attacker can intercept and/or change messages exchanged between users. Ghostwriter is a common precursor to a MitM attack. This allows the attacker access to a misconfigured cloud configuration with public write access.

Exploiting Live Migration

During migration from one cloud service provider to another, the cloud management system is tricked into creating multiple migrations, which turns into a denial-of-service attack. This can also be used to potentially craft a VM Escape.

VM Escape

This accounts for 13.1 percent of all malware attacks on virtual machines in cloud environments. VM Escape involves running in a VM and escaping to infect the hypervisor. The goal in this attack is to obtain root privileges, host OS control and maybe even full access across the environment.

Flush/Reload

This attack utilizes a memory optimization technique known as memory deduplication. By enacting a sophisticated cross side-channel technique, a malicious actor can detect a full AES encryption key.

Prime and Probe

This is a VM cross side-channel attack that utilizes cache instead of memory. The attacker fills the cache with some of their own information. Once the victim uses the VM, the attacker uses this information to see which cache lines were accessed by the victim. This method has been used to recover an AWS encryption key.

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Do the Cyber Risks of the IoT in Healthcare Outweigh the Benefits?

Do the Cyber Risks of the IoT in Healthcare Outweigh the Benefits? | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

The Internet of Things, or IoT, is a system of internet-connected objects that collect, analyze and monitor data over a wireless network. The IoT is used by organizations in dozens of industries, including healthcare. In fact, the IoT is revolutionizing the healthcare sector as devices today have the capability to gather, measure, evaluate and report patient healthcare data.  

 

Unfortunately, IoT connected devices also exponentially increase the amount of access points available to cyber criminals, potentially exposing sensitive and confidential patient information.  In order to take advantage of this valuable new technology, healthcare firms need to ensure that they are aware of the risks and address them ahead of implementation.

How are healthcare organizations using the IoT?

Businesses in the healthcare sector are taking advantage of the IoT to provide better care, streamline tracking and reporting, automate tasks, and often decrease costs. Here are a few examples of how healthcare organizations are using IoT:

  • Medicine dispensers are now integrated with systems that automatically update a patient’s healthcare provider when they skip a dose of medication.
  • Smart beds are equipped with sensors that indicate when it is occupied, alerting the nursing staff if the patient is trying to get up.
  • Caregivers are taking advantage of ingestion monitoring systems whereby swallowed pills transmit data to a device, tracking whether a patient is taking medication on schedule or not.
  • Smart inhalers can now track when asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) sufferers require their medicine. Some of these devices are even equipped with allergen detectors.

 

Connectivity of healthcare solutions through cloud computing gives providers the ability to make informed decisions and provide timely treatment. With the IoT connected technology, patient monitoring can be done in real-time, cutting down on doctor visit expenses and home care requirements.

 

However, as healthcare organizations begin to integrate IoT technology into devices more frequently, cybersecurity risks increase significantly.

Cyber risks of healthcare IoT tech

Cyber risks have become sophisticated and there has been an enormous increase in the quantity and severity of attacks against healthcare providers. In fact, since 2009 the number of healthcare industry data breaches has increased every year, progressing from only 18 in that year to 365 incidences in 2018.  Significant financial costs to a healthcare organization are a consequence of these breaches due to fines, settlements, ransoms, and of course the costs to repair the breach itself.  

 

Businesses are becoming progressively vulnerable to cybersecurity threats due to rapid advancement and increasing dependence on technology. Unsecured IoT devices pose a higher risk by providing an easily accessible gateway for attackers looking to get inside a system and deploy ransomware. Everything from fitness bands to pacemaker devices can be connected to the internet, making them vulnerable to hacking. Most of the information transmitted isn't sufficiently secured, which presents cybercriminals with an opportunity to obtain valuable data.

Managing IoT cybersecurity risks

No organization, including healthcare firms, can block all attackers. However, there are ways in which they can prepare themselves. Use these tips to help protect your healthcare organization from IoT-related cybersecurity risks:

  • Encrypt data to prevent unauthorized access

  • Leverage multi-factor authentication

  • Execute ongoing scanning and testing of web applications and devices

  • Meet HIPAA compliance requirements

  • Ensure vendors meet HIPAA compliance requirements

  • Protect endpoints like laptops and tablets

  • Healthcare staff should be educated to look for signs of phishing emails like typos and grammatical errors

IoT device-specific protection tips:

  • Acquire unique logins and device names. Avoid using the default configurations
  • Ensure the latest version of the software is installed
  • Take an inventory of all apps and devices that documents where it resides, where it originated, when it moves, and its transmission capabilities

Smart devices connected through the IoT increase access points for cyberattacks, significantly increasing risk and organizations need to be prepared in advance to prevent damage from such threats.  The healthcare industry is one of the most sensitive and frequently targeted sectors as well as one of the most costly in which to address a breach. Therefore, it is prudent for organizations to include IoT devices in a thorough cybersecurity risk assessment and ensure that they take all the necessary precautions to minimize vulnerabilities from implementing these IoT devices.

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Medical Device Security Risks: What Healthcare institutions can do

Medical Device Security Risks: What Healthcare institutions can do | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Medical devices, just like any other Internet of Things (IoT) object, are prone to hackers. These hacks can get dangerous quickly— security risks with medical devices become patient safety issues, as while medical devices carry patient data that needs to be protected according to HIPAA laws, these instruments also perform critical functions that save lives.

 

Weaknesses that augment the risk of a potential breach include the fact that medical devices tend to be five to six years old by the time they are even put in use at hospitals, after which they are operating for another fifteen years. These devices are the most prone to security breaches, as they are not built with future tech advancements in mind.

 

On top of this, many hospitals have not updated or patched their software or medical devices until something has already gone wrong. After the WannaCry ransomwareattack in May of 2017, Windows released patches for operating systems as old as Windows XP, yet many hospitals are slow to download the patch, and some did not download it at all. Hospitals, along with medical device manufacturers, are testing and deploying the patches across the millions of medical devices.

 

Due to the increasing connectivity of medical devices, cyberattacks have been steadily increasing over the past few years.

Here are some examples of alarming events that have occurred with medical devices:

  • In 2014, researchers alerted the Department of Homeland Security that certain models of the Hospira infusion pump could be digitally manipulated. A year later, the FDA issued an advisory discouraging hospitals from using the pump; however, it is still in use in many medical settings. Even if a security risk is detected, the device is still needed for patient health.

 

  • Years later, in September 2017, eight security vulnerabilities were found in the Medfusion 4000 Wireless Syringe Infusion Pump, the worst of which had a Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) score of a 9.8 out of 10.

 

  • In 2016, researchers from the University of Leuven in Belgium and the University of Birmingham in England evaluated ten types of implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) and gained the ability to turn off the devices, deliver fatal shocks, and access protected health information (PHI). Not only could they drain the battery and change the device’s operation, if the researchers had used slightly more advanced or sophisticated equipment, they would have been able to interfere with the devices from hundreds of meters away.

 

  • In late 2016, over 100,000 users of insulin pumps were notified of a security vulnerability where an unauthorized third party could alter a patient’s insulin dosage.

 

  • In May 2017, NSA hacking tools believed to have been stolen by North Korea were used to infect MRI systems in US hospitals. Although this hack did not directly threaten patient safety, the machines ceased functionality for an extended period of time, increasing the need for hospital resources and causing critical delays.

 

  • In August of 2017, the FDA recalled 465,000 implanted cardiac pacemakers due to a vulnerability where unauthorized users could modify the pacemaker’s programming.

 

After all of these life-threatening hacks, the FDA has provided updated recommendations with a revision of NIST’s 2014 Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity.

 

Cybersecurity risk assessments can facilitate calculating the vulnerability of these medical devices. One form of this is penetration testing, where security engineers target identified or unidentified vulnerabilities in code and report the product response. Other types of risk assessments can include malware testing, binary/byte code analysis, static code analysis, fuzz testing, and security controls testing.

There are four key steps that a healthcare organization using these medical IoT devices can take to protect patient data and the devices themselves:

  1. Hospitals should use proactive approaches to hacking threats rather than waiting for something to go wrong; always change default passwords and factory settings.
  2. Healthcare companies should also assess their legacy systems and any outdated hardware; systems that are outdated are not only prone to hackers but do not integrate with newer devices perfectly. This lack of interoperability leads to more security gaps, which creates a cycle of weakness.
  3. Hospitals should isolate the medical devices that cannot be patched on a separate network so that hackers do not have access to the medical devices, in a process known as network segmentation.
  4. To discard hardware, the disposal should be done domestically, include complete data destruction, and be coordinated so that data cannot be recreated from abandoned devices.

 

Medical devices are not removed from the realm of hackable devices and should be treated as such. In fact, they should be treated with even more caution and care. If these devices are infected by hackers, both safety and privacy are at risk. Hospitals have an obligation to ensure the highest degree of security controls within medical devices they use. While the FDA may issue guidelines or recommendations with caution, as they put patient well-being above all, government agencies should still do everything in their power to make cybersecurity recommendations for medical devices enforceable and part of the law.

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Design Of A Mobile Health Clinic

Design Of A Mobile Health Clinic | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

A mobile clinic allows the health provider or health business to deliver its services from multiple locations. Simply put, you go to the patient, they don’t come to you.


The concept of mobile and virtual health clinics has grown rapidly and both are now key business models for health businesses in Australia.

 

Mobile health clinics have certainly grown in both numbers and services offered, as you now have clinicians and health practitioners flying into towns to hold a clinic or even doing a roadshow-like journey through rural and remote areas.

 

Mobile health clinics are also increasing in metropolitan areas where health practitioners or health businesses are going into the corporate, government and educational sectors to offer their services to the staff of those organizations.

 

Simply put, doctors, allied health professionals, and community workers are now becoming more mobile and as such, are having a bigger reach.

 

Most health practitioners agree that the biggest challenge in a mobile health clinic is to be mobile. In order words, the ability to access all the necessary clinical and business tools and offer the same service as an in-house health clinic is the greatest challenge.

Below are some tips on how to design a mobile health clinic (from an IT perspective).

 

Know what tools you need to complete your tasks in a mobile environment, this includes:

  • The clinical software applications you currently use (MD, BP, Genie, Pathology)
  • The billing applications you currently use (BP Management, eClaims)
  • The communication/messaging applications you currently use (Argus, Healthlink)
  • The administrative tools you currently use (Outlook, calendar)

Ask your current eHealth IT consultant to perform some research on

  • Cloud solutions specific to the health industry
  • Remote desktop solutions
  • Remote access solutions

 

At REND Tech, our Cloud for Health solution allows mobile, virtual and FIFO businesses to access their complete clinical IT environment from anywhere (home, office, mobile office), at any time and using their preferred device (iPads, tablets, laptops).

Before agreeing on a solution/vendor, ensure that

  • You have thoroughly tested the solution and it meets your requirements
  • Your data and applications are hosted in Australia
  • Your data, applications and complete IT environment are backed up daily
  • You are happy with the security levels provided
  • There is ongoing IT support and maintenance to ensure that your solution is always available.
  • You have tested the solution using wireless, networked and 3G/4G connections

 

By following the steps above, you should be well and truly on your way to having an excellent IT foundation for your mobile health clinic.

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Track And Maintain Your New And Existing Patients Records Effectively

Track And Maintain Your New And Existing Patients Records Effectively | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Cracking the code to access and save the heart of medical care

Medical records are undoubtedly the lifelines of medical care today. You don’t just need them to treat the patient correctly and follow-up well but also to ensure that you have documented it and have a record.

 

These are not just some paperwork requirement of the process; they are also legal documents and have come a long way,from being mere bundles of files to an important requirement in the medico-legal environment.

 

The change in the stature of patient records in the entire system has led to many strategies being developed to ascertain tracking and maintaining of patient records of both new and old patients effectively.

 

Here we list for you some foolproof and effective ways of doing the same at your clinic.

1. Unique Clinic Identity Document (UCID)

UCID is a unique alphanumeric or numeric code generated by the Clinic Management software for each new patient at the clinic. The software can be customized to generate such an ID ensuring every record of the patient going forward is stored under this ID. Being a unique code this will not be assigned to any other patient ever and this code becomes equivalent to a personal locker of the patient in the software. To access the records of any patient at any time irrespective of how old or new the patient is, all you need is the UCID and login rights to access it, and lo and behold, all relevant information will be displayed on your screen.

2. Integrate Accurately and Completely

While the Clinic Management software can be customized to generate a UCID for every new patient, old patient records need to be integrated into the system while implementing the software. This is precisely the reason why integration is an important factor to be considered while buying Clinic Management software because you cannot, in any way, afford to lose the medical records of your old patients. They need to be manually or otherwise digitized and saved on the server, to be accessed in exactly the same manner as the new ones.

3. Record Only Through EMR

Discontinue the option of the physical recording of patient records at your clinic. Recording in the software puts into use the EMR module of the software and with only one format of patient records available, tracking and maintaining patient records is easy. If both manual medical record-keeping and EMR are running parallel to each other at your clinic, patient records can never be maintained effectively and the tracking or access will never be easy or complete.

4. Patient Records On Cloud Is Better

In the battle between in-house servers vs. cloud-based server as far as patient records and their access is concerned, the cloud-based server will win hands down. The in-house server may be down for maintenance or due to some technical glitch and in that down-time no patient records can be accessed or recorded; while on cloud-based servers, continuity in tracking and maintaining the patient records is a key feature. Using a cloud-based server is a better option to effectively track and maintain patient records.

While there are many more ways to effectively maintain and track the patient records of both old and new patients at your clinic, these 4 strategies address the most pertinent issues – maintenance and access to patient records easily.

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Breathe new life into your old PC

Breathe new life into your old PC | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Don’t be so quick to dump that old computer! Despite being slow, clunky, and prone to crashes, your old desktop or laptop might just be perfectly usable — after a few light upgrades that will breathe new life into it and enable you to use it for other computing needs.

 

As mentioned, you have to make a few upgrades on your old PC. You may want to try a lighter OS, for example. Keep in mind that the latest version of Windows or MacOS won’t work optimally without a fast processor, so a Linux-based OS, which comes in a variety of options called “distros,” would be a better option. It will make your computer feel brand new without exhausting its hardware.

 

Popular distros options such as Ubuntu, elementary OS, and PinguyOS can be easily installed. Plus, they have similar interfaces to Windows and come with a boatload of software packages. The best part is they require a minimum of 4GB of RAM, so you won’t have to invest much at all.

 

Once you’ve upgraded your old PC, you can start using it as a NAS server, a dedicated privacy computer, or a digital media hosting platform.

Make a NAS server

Network-attached storage (NAS) is a server for your home or small business network that lets you store files that need to be shared with all the computers on the network. If your old PC has at least 8GB of RAM, you can use it as your own NAS.

 

Simply download FreeNAS, a software accessible on Windows, MacOS, or Linux, that enables you to create a shared backup of your computers. FreeNAS has access permissions and allows you to stream media to a mobile OS, like iOS and Android.

 

But if you’d rather convert your PC into a private cloud for remote access and data backup, Tonido is a great alternative. Compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux, this free private cloud server turns your computer into a storage website, letting you access files from anywhere on any device.

 

Tonido offers up to 2GB of file syncing across computers, and there are even Tonido apps for iOS and Android.

Secure your online privacy

Install The Amnesic Incognito Live System (TAILS) on your old computer and enjoy your very own dedicated privacy PC.

TAILS routes all your internet traffic and requests through TOR Project, a software that makes it difficult for anyone to track you online. All of this Linux-based software’s integrated applications like a web browser, Office suite, and email software are pre-configured for robust security and privacy protection.

Kick your media up a notch

Looking for a way to listen to music and podcasts or watch videos on other PCs or mobile devices? Server software like Kodi can help.

 

Kodi brings all your digital media together into one user-friendly package so you can use your old PC as an audio and video hosting platform. From there, you can play files on other devices via the internet. There are remote control apps for both iOS and Android, and even an app for Kodi playback on Amazon Fire TV.

 

Kodi works on any Windows, MacOS, and Linux computer, and even on even rooted Android and jailbroken iOS devices.

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Tech Talks: 8×8 Delivers Secure Cloud Communication Solutions

Tech Talks: 8×8 Delivers Secure Cloud Communication Solutions | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Would you like to enhance your customer experience (CX) with reliable and secure cloud-based solutions? If so, you might want to consider 8×8, a leading provider of communication-related products for businesses of all sizes looking to enhance their customer experience and increase staff engagement.

 

Our consultants recently attended a presentation and “sales blitz” by this cloud solution provider and got a detailed look at their key offerings. Here’s some of what we know about 8×8 that we’d like to share with you if you’re a business leader looking to improve your communication capabilities. Provider Overview Founded in 1987 and based in San Jose, Calif., 8×8 focuses on delivering cloud solutions that help companies transform both their team members’ and customers’ experiences.

 

This vendor’s solutions give businesses the ability to communicate and collaborate effectively and quickly with a single system of engagement for contact center, voice, video, and collaboration. 8×8 has earned recognition as a leading cloud-based communication solutions provider: For instance, the vendor has been named a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications as a Service, Worldwide for seven years in a row. Unique Differentiator 8×8 has its own platform and native cloud contact center, rather than running on BroadSoft or another third-party cloud contact center like many of its competitors.

 

This gives them a considerable edge, as their clients realize the benefits of an all-in-one platform and provider. Featured Offerings 8×8 provides a wide range of communication solutions, such as VoIP business phone service, web conferencing, hosted PBX, virtual contact center, UC and more. Here are just a couple of their notable offerings. Business Phone Systems: An X Series Business Phone System solution from 8×8 gives you a single cloud platform for meetings, voice, call center, collaboration and more. Select elements of the different plans (starting with X2) to meet your company’s specific needs. This solution is available for small businesses as well as larger enterprises.

 

Cloud Contact Center: Enhance your customer experience with a cost-effective X Series Cloud Contact Center. Choose the model that best fits your communication needs, from the X5 (voice contact center with predictive dialer) up to the X8 (multi-channel contact center with predictive dialer and advanced analytics). Security and Compliance Guaranteed Additionally, for clients that must comply with industry regulations, this vendor’s Virtual Office and Virtual Contact Center solutions are certified as compliant with the following standards: HIPAA FISMA CPNI ISO 27001 ISO 9001 UK Government ATO Privacy Shield Framework Cyber Essentials

 

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3 Common Technology Problems and How to Solve Them

3 Common Technology Problems and How to Solve Them | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

We know that businesses struggle to keep their IT in optimal working condition. While some problems take the skilled hand of an expert to fix properly, many other issues are easier to deal with internally, but still, go chronically unaddressed. Here are some of those problems, and tips for how to deal with them.

Problem 1 – Inconsistent or Lackluster Email Security

Did you know that 92.4% of all malware is delivered via email? That’s from Verizon’s 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report. Not only is email an effective means for hackers to send you malware, but it’s a successful one too. The same Verizon report found that people in the U.S open 30% of all phishing emails, with 12% of people even clicking on the link inside the email.

 

These statistics point to a two-sided problem. Hackers know that email is a great way to get into your company, and employees are still not being cautious enough about their email usage. So, what’s the best way to help secure your email system against compromise?

 

  • Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
    This is the easiest measure to take. Two-factor authentication provides an extra layer of security that goes beyond just simple username and passwords. It requires that users verify their identity with a code sent to an authorized device (usually a cell phone), which can go a long way to keeping unauthorized users out of business email accounts. Unfortunately, 2FA adoption remains stubbornly low at businesses, despite the greatly increased security that it provides. One of the reasons holding 2FA back is that there are several different versions available, including SMS/mobile based solutions, physical keys, app-based models, and others.

 

There are advantages and disadvantages to each of these methods, so pick a 2FA model that meets the specific security and compliance needs of your organization.

 

  • Teach Employees Email Best Practices
    According to recent data from Wombat Security, 30% of employees in the U.S. don’t even know what phishing is. That’s a big problem, as your team is the first line of defense against email-delivered cyber threats.

 

Teach your employees how to defend themselves. Go over the basics, such as poor grammar, incorrect spelling, suspicious email addresses, and other phishing red flags. Company policies against bad habits, like leaving email accounts open when you’re away from your desks, can also be very helpful. You may even want to give your staff the occasional quiz to ensure that they’re aware of the most important threats, and to educate them in a fun and memorable way.

 

Have you implemented email encryption or malware scanning for your email attachments yet? If not, those are two technical measures you can take to improve email security quickly. You may also want to think about enforcing an email retention policy. Regularly deleting emails is a best practice that’s often a vital part of maintaining regulatory compliance.

Problem 2 – Poor IT Vendor Management

According to this survey from the Tech Republic, 57% of companies say that they’re spending more time managing their IT vendors than just two years ago, driven by the growing interest in cloud computing, SaaS, and cybersecurity services. IT vendor management is crucial to helping you deliver positive IT outcomes and control the cost of these services.

 

Engage company stakeholders and subject matter experts to form a workgroup to manage your vendors. While each vendor management process will differ, you’ll want to centralize all the related information, including contracts and related documents into one data repository. This body of information will help you evaluate your IT vendors to ensure they’re still a good fit for your needs, as well as negotiate future contracts.

 

From a cybersecurity point of view, you’ll also want to create a security risk profile for each vendor. As the number of vendors your company uses grows, so does the difficulty of maintaining strong security. According to PwC, 74% of companies do not have a complete inventory of the third parties that handle personal employee or customer data, a glaring oversight that your vendor management team should seek to rectify.

 

Proper IT vendor management is critical to any compliance efforts, meaning that this work must be handled with great care in regulated industries like finance and healthcare. In these cases, you’ll likely need the help of a trusted technology partner.

Problem 3 — Poorly Secured Workstations

Cybersecurity is a big, very important topic, which we’ve written a white paper on. One area of security where we’ve noticed many businesses fall short is in securing their workstations.

 

On any given day, a workstation may get used by several different employees or teams. Because they often hold valuable data that’s directly related to your productivity, these computers must be held to a higher standard of security than your average PC or mobile device.

 

  • Employ Stronger Passwords
    81% of hacking-related data breaches involve a compromised Because passwords are all that separate your workstation data from a malicious outsider (or insider), you’ll want to make sure that all your passwords adhere to the current best practices — which are constantly evolving. Did you know, for example, that mixing upper-case and lower-case letters are no longer seen as the best way to create a strong password? In fact, the man who came up with that idea in the first place now regrets ever saying it. Instead, combine 3 or 4 unrelated English words and sprinkle a number or two in for good measure. This provides a much stronger foundation for a secure workstation.

 

  • Secure Administrator Accounts and Privileges
    Administrator accounts have the ability to move data around your computer network in ways that standard user accounts can’t. This makes them attractive to interlopers, who will do whatever they can do to gain administrator access, like social engineering. Start by making sure that all default passwords have been changed and are different on each of your workstations. Using the same passwords on any two workstations could cause problems, by encouraging a successful hacker to move laterally through your network. While you’re at it, make sure that your admins aren’t using their administrator accounts for their daily work. This is another easy fix, but we see it all the time. Having your administrators use a separate account for non-administrative duties will help ensure that if their regular account gets compromised, the account with the privileged access remains secure.
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5 tips to lower your printing costs

5 tips to lower your printing costs | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Your growing printing expenditures may be the result of over-dependence on hard copies, the lack of effective printing workflow, and obsolete printers. With some fresh ideas, clever problem-solving, and the following tips, you could significantly cut down your printing budget.

 

Replace outdated printers

Outdated and cheap printers may be functional, but they are putting a huge dent in your IT budget.

Any piece of equipment that is seven years old (or older) requires frequent repairs and causes more trouble than it’s worth. Because old printers are no longer under warranty, fixing them is more costly and challenging. It’s also difficult to replace parts for old printers because manufacturers have stopped carrying them for models that have been phased out.

When you replace outdated equipment with newer, multi-functional printers, you’re investing in hardware that will pay for itself with increases in productivity and efficiency.

 

Avoid purchasing unnecessary supplies

A poorly managed printer environment could result in a stockpile of cartridges, toners, and reams of paper. This happens when, for example, an employee uses a printer that’s about to run out of ink and makes an unnecessary request for new ink or toner. This is more common than you may think and definitely more expensive.

In the absence of a dedicated printer manager, you can avoid this situation by automating supply replacement. Assign a point person to proactively place orders when supplies are about to run out, so your company can avoid needless purchases.

 

Impose strict process workflows

Submitting expense reports, filing reimbursements, and other administrative tasks require a proper document workflow. Without a guideline, employees and administrative staff tend to print an unnecessary amount of documents.

Automate your company’s document-driven processes to reduce or prevent redundant print jobs that result in stacks of abandoned documents. Not only are these printouts wasteful, but they’re also a security and privacy concern.

 

Go paperless

Designing a document management solution that reduces paper consumption is the best way to save money. It may not be possible in every department, but those who can do their jobs without printing should be encouraged to do so by management. Printing lengthy email chains that can be discussed in a meeting is just one example of a wasteful practice that should be avoided.

 

Reduce IT support calls for printing issues

Calling your company’s IT guys to assist with problems like paper jams, printer Wi-Fi issues, and other concerns reduce employee frustration. You and your IT personnel could avoid dealing with these productivity killers by identifying the problem areas of your print environment. Then, you can work on solutions specific to your office, such as drafting a printing workflow or getting help from document management experts who can recommend time- and budget-saving solutions.

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Make sure your VoIP phones survive a disaster

Make sure your VoIP phones survive a disaster | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony systems are great for today’s businesses. They’re more mobile with greater functionality and better cost efficiency versus traditional landline phones. But as with any technology, VoIP is vulnerable to disruptions due to equipment failure, disasters, and cyberattacks. Plan ahead and make sure your VoIP can weather any breakdown.

Invest in VoIP monitoring services

Before implementing any disaster recovery solutions, install a third-party VoIP monitoring service to keep tabs on the status of your phone system. This will identify all network issues disrupting your phone system, so you can resolve them quickly.

Choose your VoIP provider wisely

When evaluating VoIP systems, you must verify your provider’s service-level agreements. Ask them about their security and availability guarantees, and how they’re able to achieve them.

Whomever you partner with, be sure they host your VoIP systems in facilities that are safe from local disasters. Your provider should also use advanced network security services to protect your calls.

Have a backup broadband line

Because VoIP solutions are dependent on internet connections, you should have a backup or alternate internet service in case one network goes down.

Ideally, one internet service provider (ISP) will be dedicated to your VoIP service, while another supports your main computer network. Once you’ve installed both networks, you can then program them to automatically transfer services to the other should one network fail. Thus, if your main phone network goes down, your VoIP solution switches to the other network so you can keep working.

Of course, subscribing to two separate ISPs will increase your internet expenses, but the cost to maintain both is far less than the cost of significant downtime.

Route calls to mobile devices

With a cloud-based VoIP solution, you can choose where to receive your calls with call forwarding — a feature that automatically reroutes incoming calls to other company-registered devices. If your main office is hit by a local disaster or network outage, your employees can continue working from their mobile devices as if nothing happened.

To benefit from this feature, make sure to register all employee mobile devices to your VoIP system and configure such devices to receive rerouted calls.

And don’t forget to set policies for remote working. You should have rules that forbid staff from connecting to public WiFi networks, as this can put them at risk of VoIP eavesdropping.

Test your plan

There’s little value in a VoIP continuity plan if it isn’t tested on a regular basis. Test your VoIP service and check whether contact details are up to date, call forwarding features are routing calls to the right devices, and your backup internet service works. Ultimately, your goal is to find flaws in your VoIP recovery strategy and make necessary adjustments to avoid them from occurring in the future.

 

If managing VoIP is too time-consuming and complex, call our professionals today. We design, implement, and test a powerful, disaster-proof VoIP phone system to ensure your communications are always online.

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Medical billing for dummies

Medical billing for dummies | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Here are some frequently asked questions about medical billing and their answers that will serve as your first lesson on the field of medical billing.

What is medical billing?

Medical billing is the process of submitting and following up on health insurance claims with the insurance company. This process is undertaken by a medical billing specialist with the support of the insurance desk team of the hospital or healthcare provider.

 

It is the responsibility of the medical biller to ensure that the service provided to the patient (who is insured with the insurance company) receives reimbursement. As part of this process, the medical biller sends an invoice detailing the treatment and the health services provided to the health insurance company on behalf of the healthcare provider. Therefore, when done efficiently, medical billing can optimise revenue performance for the healthcare provider. Today, most medical billers make use of specialised software which help in automating and improving the speed and efficiency of the process.

How is medical billing different from medical coding?

Both medical coding and medical billing are processes that are largely responsible for the smooth progress of the healthcare provider’s revenue cycle. Medical coding, carried out by a medical coder, is the process of assigning specific codes to the different health services rendered to the patient.

 

Medical billing, carried out by a medical biller, utilises the diagnosis and procedure codes derived from the medical record documentation to assemble all data concerning the medical bill or claim accurately and efficiently. Therefore, medical billing is a process that is dependent on medical coding.

What are the steps involved in medical billing?

The basic steps involved in medical billing are:

  1. Charge Entry
    • The medical biller, in this step, enters the charges for services provided to the patient. The charge entry also includes the appropriate linking of medical codes to services and procedures rendered during the patient’s visit.
  2. Claims Transmission
    • Once the claim has been properly completed, it must be submitted to the insurance company for payment. This step is called claims transmission or claims submission and is done electronically in formats specifically required by the insurance companies. Sometimes, clearing houses are used to reformat the claims in the format that matches the need of the insurance company.
  3. Monitoring of Adjudication
    • Once a claim is submitted to the insurance company, it undergoes a process called claims adjudication wherein the insurance company evaluates the claim and decides whether or not the claim is eligible for reimbursement based on factors including validity and compliance.
    • At the end of the adjudication, the insurance company sends a report to the healthcare provider. It is the medical biller’s responsibility to review this report and ensure that all procedures listed on the claim are accounted for. If there are any discrepancies, the biller will enter into an appeal process with the insurance company.
  4. Payment Posting
    • This step marks the end of the billing cycle and involves posting and deposit functions. Payment or settlement is received from the insurance company at this point, and the payment records of every patient are recorded in the billing management software.
  5. Patient follow-up
    • Medical billers follow up with patients whose bills are delinquent, rejected or partially paid to make sure that the payment due for the healthcare service, which has not been settled by the health insurance company, is received. This may involve contacting the patient directly, sending follow-up bills, or, enlisting a collection agency.

 

In conclusion, it can be said that the medical biller is the bridge between the healthcare provider and the health insurance company. Additionally, the medical biller may also be involved in supporting the insurance desk, communicating with the physician for clarifications and many such tasks that are related to the claims process.

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The Promising Future For AI In Orthopedics

The Promising Future For AI In Orthopedics | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

In their most simple form, AI applications in healthcare consist of a collection of technologies that will enable machines to sense, comprehend, predict, act, and learn. The first application for AI-based machines, as discussed at the World Medical Innovation Forum (held in April 2018), is to execute healthcare administrator and clinical healthcare functions. Current technologies are limited because they are algorithm based. The future of AI will make the leap past algorithm-only tools to become indispensable instruments for patients, providers, physicians, and payers. AI has the potential to truly augment human activity.

 

Why This Is Important
The potential to drive improvements in quality, cost, and access has made AI a notable buzzword in healthcare. The AI health market is growing rapidly and is forecasted to reach $6.6 billion by 20211 (Table 1).

 

AI Applications in Orthopedics
AI has demonstrated high utility in classifying non-medical images. A study2 looked at the feasibility of using AI for skeletal radiographs. The study authors compared an AI program against the radiography gold standard for fractures. They also compared the performance of the AI program with two orthopedic surgeons who reviewed the same images. They found the AI program had an accuracy of at least 90 percent when identifying laterality, body part, and exam view. AI also performed comparably to the senior orthopedic surgeons’ image reviews. The study outcomes support the use of AI in orthopedic radiographs. While the current AI technology does not provide important features surgeons need, such as advanced measurements, classifications, and the ability to combine multiple exam views, these are technical details that can be worked out in future iterations for the orthopedic surgeon community.

 

AI in Computer-Assisted Navigation3
Orthopedic surgeons have had access to robotic technology to help them position screws, prostheses, or tunnels for some time, but AI enhanced applications are in development (Table 2). For example, one device utilizes infrared light to locate bones intraoperatively. Another technology uses a form of AI to mill the canal for a prosthesis based on CT scans. In total hip surgery, computer assistance in placing the cup of the prosthesis is reported to have the same accuracy as with traditional methods. In the realm of knee replacement surgery, AI-supplemented robotics technology assists to align prostheses. In spine surgery, AI-enhanced computer-assisted navigation helps surgeons avoid neurovascular structures, and place thoracic and lumbar pedicle screws accurately. It is reported that the incidence of poorly placed screws has reached 42 percent with conventional surgical techniques, according to some studies, but is as low as 10 percent with AI-based computer assistance.

 

We Have Needed a Tool Like AI for a Long Time
AI will change the way healthcare work is performed. AI will fill the gaps we all know are coming in the future, such as the labor shortage in healthcare (Table 3). Through AI, we will empower clinicians and give workers tools to increase their productivity. Healthcare institutions will need an AI-trained workforce and culture. Think of the value your products will bring with AI and the ability to gain clinician face-time and recognition as they use AI to enhance efficiency, quality, and outcomes.

 

The Medi-Vantage Perspective
In almost every strategy research project we manage, when we look at adjacent technologies in consumer markets, we see AI being utilized again and again. Our strategy research helps clients understand the opportunity to integrate AI technology into their product strategies. Someday, even the most common medical devices will have an AI component.

 

Maria Shepherd has more than 20 years of leadership experience in medical device/life-science marketing in both small startups and top-tier companies. After her industry career, including her role as vice president of marketing for Oridion Medical where she boosted the company valuation prior to its acquisition by Covidien/Medtronic, director of marketing for Philips Medical, and senior management roles at Boston Scientific Corp., she founded Medi-Vantage. Medi-Vantage provides marketing and business strategy as well as innovation research for the medical device industry. The firm quantitatively and qualitatively sizes and segments opportunities, evaluates new technologies, provides marketing services, and assesses prospective acquisitions. Shepherd has taught marketing and product development courses and is a member of the Aligo Medtech Investment Committee (www.msbiv.com). She can be reached at 855-343-3100, ext. 102, or at mshepherd@medi-vantage.com. Visit her website at www.medi-vantage.com.

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