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Foundational Elements of a Risk-Based Healthcare Security Strategy – Part 2

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In a time when healthcare organizations are facing cyberthreats that threaten to expose millions of patient records each year, a risk-based security strategy can help providers take a holistic approach to security, protect data, and prioritize and mitigate risks. Let’s take a look at the foundational elements of that strategy.

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Years ago, healthcare organizations seeking to formalize their risk management processes had very little in the way of outside resources to assist them. Over the past decade, new tools emerged to assist with this work. These range from comprehensive governance, risk and compliance solutions to specialized tools designed to assist with risk assessment and mitigation.

GRC solutions help tie together three functions that often exist in different silos within an organization. Policies are the product of governance processes, which often occur at the highest levels of an organization. Risk assessments and mitigation take place either within the IT function or as part of a dedicated risk management group. Compliance activities may occur within the legal or regulatory function.

Each of these activities is extremely important to managing the organization’s overall risk exposure, but it is often difficult for them to share information. GRC solutions break down these walls by presenting each function with a function-specific view of important information, but allowing those views to draw from each other. For example, if internal auditors seek to determine the effectiveness of a security control at enforcing a policy objective, a GRC solution can help by linking security controls (risk management) to policy objectives (governance) and determining whether they are functioning properly (compliance).

Newer tools seek to dive deeper into risk management by leveraging artificial intelligence to help evaluate an organization’s risk profile. These tools can assess an organization’s internet footprint, previous data breaches and known security risks, and develop an independent risk score that can serve as a feedback loop for the risk assessment process.

Other technologies deploy agents inside an organization’s IT infrastructure that continuously report back configuration information. These agents assess deviations from a security baseline that may represent cybersecurity risks.

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