Today, most computing is taking place in on-premise data centers or in the cloud –– and healthcare isn’t an exception. With the global market for IoT medical devices expected to reach $500 billion by 2025, the healthcare industry is experiencing a paradigm shift in the way it structures, deploys, and manages its IT infrastructure.
Current industry practices have sought to shift computing from a single centralized cloud to the edge considering the mass amount of data collection we’ve seen over the last decade. While edge computing has a distributed architecture that allows users to access more data faster, many IT security professionals understand that analyzing data from a distance poses a number of risks beyond bandwidth congestion and network reliability.
Edge computing is a distributed interactive computing system that relies on multiple trust domains. Within a computing environment like this coexists multiple entities which require identity validation for each entity under one trust domain. This, all while entities are equipped to mutually authenticate each other among multiple trust domains. This spells out a host of security concerns when it comes to edge computing.
With healthcare providers requiring constant access to patient data, the fear of potential data leaks is already high and efforts to safeguard patients are driving higher security budgets across the sector. Edge computing means security along the network perimeter is decentralized, forcing enterprises to be far more vigilant of the privacy of end-users –– as well as compliant to increasingly stringent regulation.
While patient data protection is nothing new to an industry which in 2020 experienced its sharpest increase in ransomware attacks in the last decade, the need to address these concerns is only growing. With rising data security risks, privacy threats, and emerging technologies such as 5G, the risks associated with edge computing are higher than ever.
While protecting patient data may come at a high cost to the industry, data security is an essential role of healthcare. Not only is it critical to protecting confidential patient information, but also for complying with regulations like those mandated by HIPAA.
Looking forward, organizations must learn to adapt to shifting security environments that are increasingly at risk for exploitation. With continued vigilance, monitoring and open collaboration, organizations stand a fighting chance against the many threats that edge computing brings which will continue to grow far after 2021.
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