Zero Trust is a term that entered the vernacular about 10 years to describe a new concept in computer networking. The concept began as a “trust nothing, verify everything” principle, but has since evolved into a broader cyber security philosophy. In the physical world, Zero Trust would be a pedantic security guard who checks your ID every day, even though he knows your name, face, and favourite coffee order.

There is no single product or solution that can deliver Zero Trust. It is an ethos that pervades all levels of technology management. It is an end goal, not a feature or capability. In modern settings, Zero Trust represents a networking approach that centres the design and implementation of IT networks around the identity and access rights of users and data.

Clinical Zero Trust (CZT) applies this philosophy to the unique cyber and physical environments of health and aged care organisations. Just like traditional Zero Trust, there are no specific products that can magically deliver a secure CTZ environment. The key difference between traditional Zero Trust approaches and CZT is a shift toward the protection of devices and data to protecting physical workflows, which incorporate the people and processes involved in delivering care.

The clinical setting is more difficult to protect than other environments because all actions must be designed to ensure there are no blockages that may affect communications or disrupt care. A frontline nurse cannot be forced to enter endless passwords and verifications while administering critical medical attention. Additionally, access to resources cannot be tied to user identity, which is how traditional Zero Trust implementations are created. With medical, IoMT, and IoT devices there is no user attached or logged in from a digital perspective, even if there is a person physically attached to a patient monitor device or IV pump.

To further complicate matters, these devices are often highly mobile, as they are constantly moved, deployed, reclaimed, and redeployed, as required. For these reasons, it is vital to develop and implement a Zero Trust strategy that can handle the specific requirements of the clinical setting. Only CZT can be applied to protect such a network.

The complexities of the clinical setting provide unique challenges for cyber security personnel. Access to information must be instant, but protecting patient records from possible cyber-attacks is also imperative. The outcome, a properly implemented CZT network environment offers both cyber and physical resiliency improvements. This process requires consistent perseverance across an organisation but is a worthy goal in today’s ever-challenging cybersecurity world.

How we can help

Connected Health collaborates with Claroty to offer top-notch cybersecurity solutions for connected devices within hospital settings. The Medigate platform, powered by Claroty, integrates an in-depth knowledge of manufacturers’ protocols and clinical workflows with cybersecurity proficiency to provide thorough and precise identification, contextual anomaly detection, and enforcement of clinical policies. This results in the implementation of automated, rule-based security policies driven by clinical needs, ensuring the safety of patients, networks, and protected health information (PHI). To discover more about this platform, reach out to Connected Health to schedule a demo or proof of concept.