Data Visualization in Patient Privacy Monitoring…Powerful New Tools for Formidable New Threats

Let’s face it, humans are wired to be visual.  We process the world around us by sight and the same is true in the way we work. We instinctively detect visual patterns and our curiosity pulls us in to learn the root cause of why something looks unusual. The graphic I used in the cover for this article is an actual example from Imprivata FairWarning Data Visualization and Trending.  You may have missed the access spike if you had read 2,2,2,1,2,1,2,2,7,2,72,2,1,7,2,2,1,2,1,2 but that spike is impossible to miss visually!  We all want to know what that user was doing.

Empowering our privacy analyst and information security users with visual analytics, statistical trending and visual forensic tools is exactly what we need in Patient Privacy Monitoring right now for the sake of protecting patient information.  Just in case you are curious, yes, Imprivata FairWarning is rolling out these capabilities right now through our Managed Privacy Services customer base.  A broader release to all customers will be available shortly.

Unprecedented Levels of Advanced Threats

One of my favorite sayings is – “It is what it is”.  Sometimes we overanalyze things and twist facts around to make us feel better, but right now the fact of the matter is that healthcare is under siege from organized crime and overseas nation-states to steal patient information for monetary gain, espionage and even black mail.   At stake for the healthcare industry is patient trust which is the most valuable asset we have, and right now many care providers are unable to stand up to the siege.   According to the Washington Post, “2015 is already the year of the healthcare hack – and it’s only going to get worse”.  It is what it is.  The level of sophistication in the attacks on healthcare providers to capture patient information illegally is growing exponentially.

This means the stakes are higher than ever, the threat vectors more sophisticated than ever and we have to arm the industry with a new set of tools in the area of visual analytics, statistical analysis and visual forensic investigations.  Healthcare is now living in a world where it isn’t just the rogue insider who is printing out face sheets to sell to a local criminal for tax fraud use, healthcare now faces the specter that an external nation-state has compromised their electronic health record and is downloading the patient information to a country in which the civilized world has no legal jurisdiction.  

Further, we will continue to see a rise in ransoms in which overseas criminals capture data or entire information systems and hold them hostage.  This has come a long way since “neighbor snooping”.

Faster More Coordinated Responses

This will be the first of several articles I post regarding my thoughts and Imprivata FairWarning’s work on Advanced Threats so I will end this article by making it very clear that Imprivata FairWarning believes our customers are under siege and that we are championing a vision of “cross vendor coordinated threat prevention, detection and responses” in which there is increased emphasis on rapid response.