Healthcare IT teams battle with technical challenges to ensure network resilience and security

IDG surveyed IT leaders from hospitals, primary and urgent care facilities, pharmaceutical companies, and other healthcare entities. The goal was to shed light on how pandemic-driven changes, including increases in telemedicine and remote workers, have accelerated demands for network resiliency and cloud security, as well as the need for an integrated approach to solving these challenges.

healthcare network security

“Healthcare IT teams have daunting technical challenges to ensure network bandwidth, resilience, and security in the face of surging online care, including telemedicine, remote workforces, and medical IoT,” explained Ray Watson, VP of innovation at Masergy.

“The IDG Healthcare IT survey reveals that an integrated network and security strategy is now an imperative to address these challenges.”

Key findings

95% of respondents report an increase in network traffic since March 2020, with 92% having to increase network bandwidth capacity to accommodate an influx of connected medical devices.

Top three security challenges for healthcare IT:

  • Cloud security (46%)
  • Security of medical connected devices (46%)
  • Remote and mobile workforce (36%)

54% expect IT budgets to increase in 2021, while 71% consider it highly important to integrate network solutions with security policies.

  • 60% indicate having a single security architecture delivering consistent security policies across multiple locations is highly important
  • 65% say integrating security with SD-WAN solutions is considered critical or highly important
  • 87% are interested or very interested in secure access service edge (SASE), converged offerings combining WAN capabilities with network security functions

80% indicate they are likely or very likely (44%) to engage a managed services provider to handle network and/or security services.

Increased demand for network resiliency and cloud security

The increased demand for network resiliency and cloud security comes from across the healthcare industry, including virtual doctor visits, pop-up clinics and new work-from-home requirements.

A growing ecosystem of medical devices, cloud applications, locations and partners that must all be securely connected has also forced a shift in network strategy that puts the focus on reliability and security for remote and cloud-based activities.

“The data reveals themes around convergence and simplicity, helping us further understand how healthcare IT organizations will thrive in 2021,” said Troy Ament, field CISO for healthcare at Fortinet. “IT leaders prefer integrated network and security technologies that provide a more effective approach for managing digital healthcare and medical IoT devices.”

“A single platform which addresses both security and the network can often reduce operational complexity,” added Masergy’s Watson.

“Telemedicine is a voracious consumer of bandwidth, and protecting patient information requires more security at the network edge and in the cloud. Thus, IT organizations are putting more emphasis on unified strategies, technologies, and operations.”

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