HIMSS16: Fighting the ever-growing threat of cyberattacks, breaches

Last year brought with it some of the biggest hacks in the history of the healthcare industry, and there arguably was no greater buzzword for hospital executives than cybersecurity. It should come as no surprise, then, that at HIMSS16, the Privacy and Security track will include panels such as "Limiting Impact in the Era of the Inevitable Data Breach" and "You WILL be breached, but will you be prepared?"

Cybersecurity will continue to be important in every facet of healthcare, and sessions throughout the week will help providers learn more about keeping every piece of technology secure.

Here are some of the tools discussions will focus on:

Medical devices

On Tuesday, March 1, at 10 a.m., Ronald Mehring, vice president of technology and security at Texas Health Resources, and Axel Wirth, distinguished solutions architect at Symantec, will outline the keys to a robust medical device patch management program, and its limitations, during the discussion, Medical Device Patching - Factors for Strategy & Execution.

The next day, Penny Chase, IT and cybersecurity integrator at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, will talk about medical device security research at 4 p.m. She'll also discuss how research is helping the industry better assess risks to patient safety.

The cloud

On Wednesday, March 2, at 10 a.m., the session Developing a Cloud Security Roadmap will focus on how providers can create a roadmap for cloud security that uses a multi-layered approach. There are seven layers to the roadmap that will be addressed, including physical, network, application, server, data, devices and users.

Mark Menke, chief technology officer of Network DLP at Digital Guardian, also sees seven steps to cloud tech, though his talk at 3:15 p.m. on March 3 will center on moving patient data safely to a cloud-based electronic health system. Menke also will discuss how providers can keep vulnerable data safe while taking advantage of the cloud during 7 Steps for Preparing to Move Patient Data to the Cloud.

Mobile tools and apps

Use of smartphones and mobile tech in healthcare can lead to many security risks, which Lucia Savage, chief privacy officer at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, will address at 11:30 a.m. March 1, during a session titled Privacy & Security in an App Enabled World. Savage will touch on how HIPAA and patient access to data work in the health app environment, as well as how providers and developers can take advantage of apps and APIs while keeping information secure.