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MN502 Overview Of Network Security For Healthcare Networks

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MN502 Overview Of Network Security For Healthcare Networks

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MN502 Overview Of Network Security For Healthcare Networks

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Course Code: MN502
University: Melbourne Institute Of Technology

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Country: Australia

Questions:
The purpose of this assignment is to develop skills to independently think of innovation. Students will be able to complete the following ULOs:
 
1. Explain the major methodologies for secure networks and what threats they address;2. Identify and report network threats, select and implement appropriate counter measures for network security.

Answer:
Literature review on Healthcare Networks
The applications of the network technologies in the healthcare sectors are currently growing at a high rate. This growth has been activated by the high level of technology. The challenges that have been experienced in the area for a long time have now been solved through technology. It is one of the areas that has currently heavily employed the technology in its operations. This has been put into practices in various departments within the sector.  The access to the online claim submission, biometric information, patient accounting, medical management system, material management, imaging, admitting information and Electronic Medical Record (EMRs) has been eased through different network applications such as the mobile communication, wired and the wireless means. These tools are combined into one network-based infrastructure in the healthcare to effectively improve patients care, reduce errors and ensure effective communication and collaboration. The tools, however, face security threats such as the human errors, malicious software (malware), hackers, and the disgruntled employees where the stored data is accessed and altered [3]. It is therefore vital to ensure the network in the healthcare is secured. This paper aims at describing the importance of the security in the healthcare networks, its current and future security potentials issues in the healthcare networks and the mechanism for the solution.
Healthcare Network Architecture and Devices
The healthcare architecture is comprised of interconnections between various devices. Each device is responsible for a specific task, and they interconnect with each other to complete the data transfer. The major common devices are:
Router
This is a networking device that is responsible for transferring data packets between the computers. It performs traffic directing function by sending data in the form of packets. It is connected to more than two data lines from different networks and reads the received data packet, and after reading the network address information it, therefore, determines the destination address and directs the data to the required destination [2].
Firewall
The current technology has led to the invention of the firewall in healthcare. It is a system designed to form a private network to prevent unauthorized access to the information and it can be implemented in either software or hardware for or a combination of the two [4].
Network switch
Also called bridging hub or switching hub, is a multi-port network bridge that connects different computers or network devices into the same network by use of packet switching [15]. It is responsible for receiving, processing, and forwarding the processed data to the required destination.
Recent Developments in Healthcare Networks
As a result of technology, various development has been experienced in the current world. These developments are aimed at improving the working conditions in the healthcare. They avail the services to the patients and the other healthcare stakeholders, therefore, saving the time. The information can be received at any point at any time of the day. The following are some of the recent developments that have been experienced in the healthcare networks.
Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)
This is an infrastructure formed by the interconnections of software applications and the medical services to allow their communication with various Information Technology healthcare system [6]. It is vital for:

Monitoring the health status and the progress of patients.
Monitoring medical conditions specific to patient’s disease.
Minimizing human errors by automating the monitoring and verification of advanced products.
Modifying a therapeutic window towards the best care option by collecting data from devices, biometric and medications [14].

Healthcare Informatics
Most of the United States healthcare use unique modern electronic record system as their part of the database.  This has led to a positive impact as it has saved between $37 and $59 million as compared to the traditional methods of record keeping [5]. The system has moreover increased coordination between providers, lowered the malpractices claims and also streamlined the medical care processes.
Networks and coaching
The development of mobile technology has enhanced a customized diet or health plan. It is now easier to offer to coach on stress, anxiety, mood, sleep and body image through the ThriveOn personalized coaching [7]. The Retrofit is on the other hand responsible for providing coaching and expert advice on weight loss and management.
Concierge medical services
Healthcare networking has led to the easy access to the information concerning medicines at any time and also comparing the prices. The startups are making it easy for the on-demand healthcare services to be paid out-of-pocket.  For an instant, the GoodRX makes it easy to access different pharmacies and compare the prices for the drugs, therefore, saving up to 80% [9].   It is also possible to search for a specific healthcare office based within a particular city, therefore, saving travelling time and expenses.  
Importance of security in healthcare networks
Any stored data requires high level of security to ensure the data is not accessed by an unauthorized person. Therefore, ensuring high level of security in healthcare helps in preventing any alteration to the stored data in the healthcare network. The technology in the healthcare helps in easy access of the stored information from one point or station to another. Moreover, the breach to the patient’s information in the hospitals has been highly enhance which could otherwise endanger their lives.
Current potential security issues in Healthcare Networks.
A countless number of applications are used by the hospital staffs in the healthcare to monitor the treatment success rates and the financial efficiency. The IT solutions from the healthcare centers are used by both the government and federal organizations to check the safety and the quality of healthcare organizations [1]. In addition to this, the patients also monitor their vitals by use of various health monitoring devices and apps, and they can communicate with the doctors through the wireless technologies. All these practices aim at saving one’s life. However, given the sensitive nature of the healthcare data, it is vital to ensure the data is protected from any vulnerability. Securing the computer systems and the interfaces that store the medical records ensures that the correct information can be accessed at any time thus easing the medication to the patient. Alteration to the data due to lack of enough security may lead to inappropriate medication to the patients leading to death. A breach of the patients’ data through social media is mostly associated with poor security to the data. Therefore, securing the data in the healthcare ensure easy access and also quality medical services to the patients. Some of the security issues associated with the healthcare network are:
Ransomware and other malware
This is one of the most serious attacks in all industries, however, in healthcare, the ransomware attack means life or death. The healthcare network communicates through a series of interconnected services and reports. This interconnection is vital in reducing the physical transfer of information by humans. However, these interlinked devices are vulnerable to attacks such as the ransomware. This is one of the most preferred attacks that result in high damage to medical records. For an instant, the NHS WannaCry attack forced the hospitals to close the windows for the new patients, and the existing patients in the hospitals were unable to receive medical services due to inability to access the attacked records [8]. According to the HHS Wall of Shame in the United States which is responsible for a data breach, a total of 288 data breach was recorded since January 2018 affecting almost 4.7 million individuals [13]. This attack is currently a concern as it leads to the death of patients due to the inability to access the sensitive medical data.
Cloud data attack
Currently, the applications of cloud data storage are increasing at a high rate and most especially in the healthcare field. The need to access data at any time any place and also the cost efficiency has attracted the extensive use of the cloud as a storage platform for the patient’s data. However, these increased applications do not mean that the cloud storage is not vulnerable to any illegal data access. Various cases have been reported since the revolution of cloud storage. Data attacks are one of the major problems of cloud storage. Cloud-stored data is highly prone to attacks especially when the right security measures are not put into practice [10]. Data attack leads to the loss of the healthcare stored information hence rendering it hard for effective medical service delivery to the patients.
Healthcare own Employees
In the current world, the employees in the workplace are considered one of the biggest threats to the stored data. The uneducated employees have less knowledge on the healthcare network security practices. They might not even be aware of the network attacks such as the ransomware and the phishing. Authorization of the employees to access the networking devices such as the computers exposes the healthcare network into attacks. Some of these attacks are automatically generated through the internet, and they can affect the stored data by just clicking on the popups or downloading and installing unknown software. Installing such software without the IT staffs consent leads to the attack of the primary devices leading to the loss of the data or rendering its access impossible. This attack also leads to increased expenses by the healthcare to access the data. For an instant, the Columbus or Daracrime which was programmed in October 1993 as a popup virus attacked the computers by directly clicking on the popups [11]. It wrecked the hard disk and made the content unreadable.  
The possible solution for healthcare employee’s security issue
Due to the high sensitivity of the data stored in the healthcare network devices and cloud, it is therefore essential to ensure the data is under high security. Securing the information should not be the task for only the IT staffs, but it should be the responsibility of all the staffs in the healthcare. The data security can also be enhanced by ensuring strictness in the access to the data centers. Devices such as the servers and the computers should only be accessed and operated by only the responsible personnel. This helps in limiting unnecessary practices such as the installation of unknown software. The employees should also be equipped with the knowledge on how to operate various networking devices and be able to identify any threat that may attack the data due to certain practices.
Conclusion
Healthcare is one of the areas where a lot of security is required due to the high level of sensitivity to the stored data. It is, therefore, essential to ensure the correct security practices are exercised to secure both the patients and the healthcare data. The healthcare data is also stored in the cloud that also requires a high level of security. Before the storage of any data to the device or in the cloud, it is vital to consider the level of security to the platform where the data is to be stored. The healthcare should also ensure the staffs are well trained to reduce the effects of data loss due to some inappropriate practices that expose the data to attacks. Moreover, it should also ensure that any misunderstanding of the healthcare network such as the download/installation cases are reported to the IT staffs before the situations worsen.
References
[1] E. Tetz, Law of Network Security, Austin Publishers, Fifth Edition, June 2014.
[2] H. Briere Danny, Home Wireless Networking in Healthcare, 1st Edition, September 2013.
[3] J. C. Wright, Wireless Network Security: Secrets of Wireless Security & Solutions, 4 edition, July 18, 2016.
[4] K. Jaacob, Cisco Networking All-in-One For Dummies, Cisco Press Inc., November 2018.
[5] K. Meeuwiss, Healthcare Data and Security Cost, Third Edition, May 2017.
[6] M.T. Alias Healthcare Technology: The Rules and policies of Intenert of Things, March 9, 2015.
[7] N. Bridgelall, Tehcnology and Innovations: ThriveOn and Retrofit in Network and Coaching, 3rd Edition, January 7, 2015.
[8] P. J. Connolly, Data Security: NHS WannaCry attacks, Aspen Publishers, 2017
[9] R. D. Danny, and Cheng, Online Medication, 3rd Edition, March 2015.
[10] R. Josiah Technology in Cloud Computing, March 21, 2016.
 [11] S. Siponen, Behavior towards IS security policy compliance, Fourth Edition, September 2016.
[12] W. Holm, Computing and Communications: Applications of the internet of things in the field of medical and health care, Topedo Publishers, First Edition, March 2013.
[13] W. Shaowu, Narrator, and J. Fullerton-Smith, Research in Healthcare. London: BBC; 2012.
[14] Y. Niraj, Internet-of-medical-things, Third Edition, 2017.
[15] Z. Pradeep, Philipp, A. Matthew, Switching device for routing packets through a network, 2nd Edition December 2014

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