Upgrading your Healthcare Network is Crucial, Face the Challenge Head On


It is estimated that nearly 60% of healthcare organizations have now introduced IoT devices to their facilities And despite the undeniable positive effects upgrading your healthcare network will bring, this transition also represents several different types of challenges for administrators:

  • increased surfaces that make the network vulnerable to cyberattacks
  • outdated technology that contains vulnerabilities that are difficult to patch
  • technology that is controlled by medical or clinical staff and falls outside of the control of IT staff
  • web consoles that are used to control medical devices don’t encrypt data 
  • devices that are mobile and transported around the hospital many devices are attached to legacy PCs, which widen the surface area for potential attacks system upgrades require expensive, time-consuming processes that administrators often forgo as a result.

It is clear that while medical facilities require technological upgrades to protect patient data, guard against cyberattacks, and simply remain modern enough, it is a daunting task for hospital administrators, clinicians, and IT staff. The stress of the network’s possible downtime, risk to patient data and cyberattacks, high costs of running old technology, and lack of trained staff to run everything is ongoing and monumental. Recent data shows that 20% have been the victim of an IoT attack in the past three years. In addition, recent research for Extreme Networks by HIMSS found that 59% of respondents ranked cybersecurity challenges among their top three organizational challenges.

Use of IoT Devices Exploding

And the surface area, and potential scope of surfaces to infiltrate, is increasing exponentially. The more devices employed by a hospital or clinic, as well as devices brought in by patients, staff and families, the more chances there are for cybercriminals to attack. Over four billion Wi-Fi devices hit the market every year, and IoT devices are exploding, especially in healthcare and manufacturing, with 27 billion expected to connect in 2025. In addition, worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services is expected to grow 20.7% to $591.8 billion in 2023, up from $490.3 billion in 2022. According to Extreme Networks research, 73% of organizations believe they lack the visibility and control of every user’s device activity. However, there is an Extreme solution that addresses all of the issues faced by healthcare administrators who are trying to bring their networks into, at the very least, present day, and at best, the future.

Work Within Infrastructure 

These solutions can provide multi-layered security all IoT devices, as well as increase the efficiency of healthcare networks, as well as drive down costs. Administrators need strategies for the incorporation of IoT that deliver security for end points that have limited or no embedded security capabilities. The products and solutions need to be tailored to address aging medical devices that are mobile. When embarking on an upgrade, the technology must have the capability to work with an existing security infrastructure such as NAC or firewalls, and to provide multi-layered security that is targeted at the IoT devices.

Extreme Defender for IoT 

It must also be deployed over any network infrastructure to enable secure IoT network management without significant network changes.  Ben Vickers, the Director of IT at Promedica, concurred that his organization is concerned with IoT security. “At the same time, we are concerned that the nature of securing so many devices will be complex and expensive. The Extreme Defender for IoT solution will enhance our IoT security toolset without further complexity.” As the healthcare industry continues to embrace the IoT, it also requires solutions that protect and optimize the healthcare network. 

Can't stop worrying about cyberattacks and how your network can help? Learn more about Extreme Defender for IoT solutions!

About the Author
Kate Chappell Express StudioCraft Headshot
Kate Chappell

Kate is an award-winning journalist and communications specialist with over two decades of experience.

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