Experts tell all: How to leverage VDI as a cybersecurity tactic

Nov 28, 2017

As the healthcare industry continues to move away from paper and towards a digitized environment, the risk of cyberattacks increases. Global ransomware attacks, such as WannaCry, have provided evidence that security continues to become a pressing issue in the industry.

According to the Ponemon Institute’s Sixth Annual Bechmark Study on Privacy and Security of Healthcare Data, 90% of healthcare organizations experienced a breach in the past 2 years, affecting more than 17 million individuals. In a recent webinar, Chris Logan, Sr. Healthcare Business Strategist at VMware, Willard Fosberry, CISO at Beaufort Memorial Hospital, and Aaron Miri, CIO at Imprivata, discussed how and why virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) can defend against cybersecurity threats while still easing clinical workflows.

At Beaufort Memorial Hospital in South Carolina, Willard saw that the hospital had laptops throughout the campus, with clinicians trying to constantly remember their passwords to log into each device. He noted that his team started to look at the hospital from an IT perspective asking, “What are the things that are preventing our providers from a secure ease of use and access to clinical information?”

Beaufort’s staff really started to take notice as last year’s cyberattacks made headlines across the healthcare sector. Willard’s team implemented VDI to eliminate antiquated desktops and create virtual compartments that would be capable of containment in the event of a cyberattack. A virtual environment can help contain an attack by preventing malware on an infected virtual machine from spreading to other applications, which limits the extent of damage done to the operating system, as well as allow the organization to keep caring for patients.

Pairing Imprivata OneSign with VDI additionally allows for time and cost savings. When Chris of VMware was the Chief Information Security Officer at Care New England, getting started with VDI was really a business-based decision on the ROI of clinical workflows and patient safety. Having that VDI environment be more application and user-centric allowed clinicians to securely have what they needed when they were at the bedside with their patients.

Using VMware View and Imprivata OneSign together helps to increase cyber threat readiness and allow clinicians to securely access VDI environments. Together, the two solutions enhance the security of the infrastructure and patient health information (PHI) by ensuring secure, fast access to virtual desktops and applications in today’s healthcare landscape.

Here are some of our favorite quotes from the webinar…

Chris on why to choose VDI…

“It became a no brainer as we started to shadow nurses around the hospital floors to understand their workflows. This technology allowed us to give them time back in their day to spend more time where it matters most – at the bedside with the patient.”

Aaron on implementing VDI…

“Involve your clinicians, explain to them what is going on with the technology, and be transparent in your process.”

Aaron on beginning a cybersecurity strategy…

“Cybersecurity is all about patient safety and quality. You should be asking, ‘Who is accessing what data, what applications, at what time?’”

Willard on leveraging VDI for cybersecurity…

“I walk around and help educate my staff when it comes to the technology. I keep the cybersecurity and anti-phishing concepts alive for them.”

Chris on the reaction from clinicians...

“People were asking for VDI because they saw the value in it. They realized how important their role is in delivering patient care safely through the use of technology.”

Listen to the full webinar here: