Securing Medical IoT Devices

Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) providers have the responsibility to address privacy and security of their connected devices

February 7, 2023

3 Min Read

The adoption of IoT in healthcare is on the rise, with Medical IoT device revenues expected to quadruple from US$177.6 billion in 2021 to over $467.25 billion by 2027, according to a report by Markets&Markets. As Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) manufacturers and providers continue to adopt IoT technology, it is crucial that they provide robust and uncompromised security to protect patient information and their devices from potential security incidents and data breaches.

The increasing use of IoT in healthcare, while promising, also brings security concerns that must be addressed. Devices connected to the internet face potential security risks that could compromise information and systems, as well as undermine patient safety through poor or weak security controls and protocols.

To combat these security risks, device manufacturers must implement "security by design" and "security by default" principles while building devices, and RPM solution providers should offer a secure path to connectivity that fulfills certain security baselines and offers strong security controls to reduce the risk of data breaches. Cybersecurity processes, such as network segmentation, real-time monitoring, and private IP addressing are also essential to preventing medical device IoT attacks.

According to a 2022 Cyber Threat Report, ransomware attacks cost healthcare organizations and estimated $20.8 billion in 2020, with almost 600 healthcare provider facilities falling victim to the malware. The healthcare industry alone faced a 755% increase in those attacks in 2021. Furthermore, healthcare institutions are more likely to pay ransoms promptly, making them more vulnerable. Hackers have also been known to take control of medical devices, altering their configurations or parameters, which could potentially turn them into greater threats.

To protect against these threats, IoT managed services organizations should provide RPM and telehealth providers with tools such as a secure path to connectivity via private "direct access," an IoT and data management platform for tracking, monitoring, and analytics, an accurate inventory of IoT devices and related assets, network segmentation, real-time monitoring and detection capabilities, and encryption of data based on their criticality level.

Device makers, manufacturers, and solution providers should also consider implementing measures to ward off malicious code, shut open backdoors, and protect software maintenance to ensure the safe management of devices throughout their lifespan. At Kajeet, for example, we offer a free Module Developer Kit that allows RPM and telehealth organizations to quickly deploy and test their connected solutions with a set of world-class IoT data and management tools.

As the adoption of IoT in healthcare continues to grow, it is crucial that device makers, manufacturers, and solution providers take the necessary steps to secure medical IoT devices from the design phase. By implementing security by design and offering secure connectivity options, RPM and telehealth organizations can provide the necessary safeguards to ensure patient safety and protect against cyber threats.

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