Vulnerability scanning and reporting are becoming a driving need within healthcare.  As advanced persistent threats or APTs are on the rise and constant exploits are being found, IT staffs are not always able to patch/update healthcare systems due to equipment guidelines.

Having the tools in place to see potential issues and mitigate risk helps IT administrators protect these systems.  Depending on local and federal guidelines, audits are required on a regular basis.  With the right scanning tools in house, inside audit costs can be reduced quickly.  The Tenable Nessus Vulnerability Scanner can help, offering users the ability to perform continuous monitoring, thereby identifying risks to internal systems.

Tenable’s SecurityCenter Dashboards offer help with Governance, Risk Management and Compliance (GRC).  SecurityCenter also has the ability to run audits against a large list of standards that apply to healthcare including HIPAA compliance for Windows audits and access/policy enforcement for potential data loss thru devices like removable media. 

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Tenable’s Compliance Summary offers on-premises tools to audit systems for removable media policy and content.  It gives administrators the ability to view policy enforcement at any given time, adding a layer of visibility at the host level.  Further integration with security information and event management (SIEM) provides the ability to correlate policy and security threats, provide incident awareness and offer steps to risk remediation.

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As compliance requirements vary by industry and government (federal and local), the need for external audits on a regular cadence is usually required.  Having the ability to run a local audit on internal hosts and present that to the auditor can reduce billable hours for the audit.  Having the resources in-house to see and understand where potential systems haven’t been patched or are not adhering to a system policy can dramatically mitigate risk for any organization.

Another part of Tenable’s SecurityCenter offering is the Continuous View (CV), which allows users to get real-time analytics on potential botnets, malware outbreaks and the ability for network health assessments.  This can be done in an active or passive state depending on the host and information required.  Having continuous monitoring in place allows IT security teams to be more proactive in addressing security threats before they happen vs. the traditional remediate afterwards.

IT chiefs should keep in mind that while vulnerability scanning is a staple in information security, it is not a silver bullet.  Vulnerability, configuration and compliance management processes, which are built into the daily administrators’ routine, will ensure that the investments made in point security solutions are providing the value and protection expected.

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“2015 Healthcare Security Trends and Regulatory Landscape”
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Date: February 25, 2015

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