If you're a VAR selling into the healthcare industry, you need to be aware of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend. BYOD in healthcare is experiencing tremendous adoption, with iPhones, iPads, and other smartphones and tablets becoming increasingly common in the examining room and physicians' practices. Healthcare has a set of very specific technology concerns, however. To sell BYOD in healthcare successfully, you'll need to understand the issues healthcare providers face.
1. Data security for regulatory compliance
When it comes to data security—particularly data that pertains to patients' protected health information (PHI) and electronic protected health information (ePHI)—healthcare providers and associated organizations must comply with HIPAA and HITECH. These regulations govern the transmission, storage, and sharing of PHI and ePHI, and compliance violations can be costly or even catastrophic.
Particularly important for BYOD in healthcare are concerns about data security of information stored on mobile devices or in the cloud. Certain types of ePHI must be very strongly protected. Encryption and strict access controls are typically an organization's best bet. VARs must know what data security software and appliances exist that can secure sensitive data in compliance with HIPAA and HITECH regulations. Additionally, endpoint security solutions that protect against malware and viruses are also a must to prevent data exfiltration by malicious software.
2. Network security for regulatory compliance
HIPAA and HITECH also demand a look at network security. BYOD in healthcare creates network access control challenges: how do organizations ensure that only devices owned by authorized personnel connect to sensitive area of the network? Device registration, provisioning, and control become extremely important in healthcare environments adopting BYOD. BYOD in healthcare therefore demands strong Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions.
MDM solutions provide the added benefit of remote wipe capabilities, which can address BYOD concerns around what happens if a device containing sensitive data is lost or stolen, or when the owner of the device ends their employment. With remote wipe, an administrator can erase ePHI and other sensitive data without having to have physical access to the device.
3. Network infrastructure for security and performance
Tying directly into both of the above concerns is network infrastructure, which should prove especially profitable for VARs. BYOD in healthcare often necessitates a network infrastructure overhaul. On the back end, networks must have enough bandwidth and throughput to handle the increased traffic that BYOD typically brings. In the office, meanwhile, wireless networks need both capacity and sophisticated network segmentation capabilities. Traffic from guests' and patients' connected devices must be separated from health care provider traffic, for example, and health care provider traffic should only travel over encrypted networks. Wireless solutions in healthcare should include access points and controllers configurable for VLANs and other network segmentation methodologies.
BYOD in healthcare looks set to bring many benefits to organizations, such as increased mobility, availability, and flexibility, but only if implemented correctly. As a VAR, you have the opportunity to build customer relationships and improve your bottom line by becoming a trusted security advisor. Ingram Micro offers a variety of ways to develop your business and your expertise, from credit and financing help to training and business development guidance from information security experts.
Are you ready to sell BYOD into healthcare? Share your thoughts in the comments.