Canon Medical Systems - one of the leading manufacturers of diagnostic medical hardware in the United States - has unveiled a new cybersecurity solution intended to help healthcare providers tackle the ongoing challenge of protecting patient data. It’s a step in the right direction - and one which medical organizations looking to improve their security posture should take note of. 

Canon has a fairly notable reputation in the medical community.  Their imaging hardware is some of the best available, supplying hospitals all over the world. Given its involvement in the health industry, this means the organization has also seen firsthand some of the challenges facing hospitals and care organizations.

It’s no secret that healthcare has a rocky relationship with cybersecurity. There’s a reason that, as reported by Healthcare IT News, the health industry is the likeliest to suffer a personal data breach. And that healthcare suffers twice the number of cyberattacks as other industries

Health data is incredibly valuable to criminals, more-so even than financial information. This is because a patient’s medical records can be leveraged to commit several types of fraud. Per The Independent, these include, but are not limited to, buying medical equipment or drugs, filing false insurance claims, and even obtaining patient care under false pretenses.

Yet in spite of the obvious risks - in spite of the value of health data and the tight regulations under which the health industry is placed - healthcare providers often still have a relationship with cybersecurity and technology which can be described as rocky at best. TechRepublic even described the state of data security in the health industry as at ‘Ebola crisis levels:

“In addition to the physical vulnerabilities in a hospital setting, the nature of healthcare systems makes them ideal targets due to millions of data points, large numbers of endpoints, the prevalence of legacy systems, insecure apps, and low IT budgets for security,” the piece reads. “If hospitals can't keep X-rays and EHR records secure, what does that mean for even more sophisticated technology in healthcare settings?” 

That’s why it’s heartening to see such a big name in the industry take point with the release of its Gateway Platinum cybersecurity platform. 

As reported by Yahoo! Finance, Gateway Platinum includes many of the features and functions which we have maintained should be standard in healthcare agencies. These include real-time monitoring, a secure, multi-factor VPN, intrusion detection and malware protection, and the ability to troubleshoot and air-gap compromised devices. Perhaps more importantly, this is all managed by a team of cybersecurity experts that understand the unique needs of the health industry - particularly the stringent regulatory framework to which providers must adhere.

This move by Canon won’t solve all of the healthcare’s security woes. But it’s a good first step. All we can do now is hope that others soon follow suit.