Understand the hazards of shared pins in mobile cybersecurity

Too many healthcare organizations are putting themselves at risk by using shared pins for mobile devices. The potential consequences of this are far-reaching and long-lasting.

The modern healthcare workplace has become increasingly mobile, with clinicians no longer tethered to desks when it’s time to access files or update patient records. While this offers numerous advantages in terms of flexibility, productivity, and quality of patient care, it also introduces new security risks. One particular danger to look out for is using shared pins on mobile devices, which can put your data integrity, privacy, and security at risk.

Read on to explore the dangers of shared pins and how mobile access and control solutions can help organizations protect themselves from cyberthreats.

Shared pins are convenient but risky

Shared pins have been gaining popularity in healthcare organizations due to their convenience and ability to quickly grant multiple people access to critical information. However, shared pins also expose organizations to serious security vulnerabilities.

According to a mobile security report by Verizon, 40% of companies surveyed believe that mobile devices are their greatest security risk. Simultaneously, 76% of IT departments felt pressure from the organization to sacrifice mobile device security for expediency. The desire for expediency is paramount in healthcare organizations, where clinicians must prioritize the needs of patients.

Fortunately, there are solutions available that merge convenience, efficiency, and security, making it unnecessary for clinicians to share pins. Implementing the right mobile access and control solution means reaping all the benefits that mobile technology has to offer while simultaneously reducing cybersecurity risk.

The dangers of shared pins in healthcare

Shared pins increase security risk for organizations in numerous ways. The very qualities that make them so convenient — being easy to remember or get from a colleague — is what makes them so dangerous. Shared pins are often simple to guess, discover by eavesdropping, or steal, as many users keep a list of pins and passwords posted by computer stations.

Data breaches

For organizations that store protected health information (PHI), the primary risk of using shared pins is that compromised credentials can easily lead to data breaches and a host of serious repercussions, including:

  • Hefty fines for non-compliance with HIPAA or other privacy acts
  • Reputational damage and reduced patient confidence
  • Ransomware
  • Identity theft, fraud, and other criminal acts

How shared pins hurt data integrity

Shared pins may appear to be a useful way to access mobile devices, but they can have serious implications for data integrity. When multiple users share pins on shared devices, the chance of inadvertently accessing info that’s not pertinent to the user becomes higher, as does the chance of a user altering patient records incorrectly. With a shared pin, clinicians could pick up the wrong phone and accidentally chart under wrong record, or get misleading alerts and information that in turn have a devastating impact on patient care.

Shared pins hinder visibility

An organization that uses shared pins will have no visibility into who had which device last. Consequently, it’s potentially impossible to determine which user made a specific change or performed a specific action. This greatly hampers investigations into data breaches and extends recovery time. It also makes the prevention of data breaches far more difficult, as the organization has no way to identify and stop risky behaviors before they evolve into cybercrime. It also means lost devices are untraceable, which not only adds to the bottom line in hardware costs, but also greatly increases the odds of a data breach.

The ideal capabilities for mobile access management

The need for a mobile access and control solution purpose-built for healthcare has become increasingly important as more organizations rely on mobile devices to store and manage sensitive information. With the right combination of features, you can keep data safe from malicious actors, while providing a convenient and secure experience for clinicians.

The ideal mobile access security solution should include:

  • Frictionless access methods that make workarounds and shared pins unnecessary
  • A personalized experience on shared devices
  • Real-time monitoring capabilities
  • Dashboard visibility into who has what device, where, and when
  • The ability to lock down devices between users

Side-step security risks with the right solution

The need for efficient and secure digital identity solutions is becoming increasingly important as mobile technology continues to advance and grow in ubiquity. Organizations must protect their data and systems from malicious actors by implementing technologies that provide comprehensive access control and management.

Learn more about mobile device access solutions that minimize security vulnerabilities and encourage adoption through easy and convenient workflows by reading our whitepaper, Sidestep the risks of clinical mobility.