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Simplifying security with cloud-based management

Mobile devices improve patient care but broaden the target for hackers. They can also be stolen and lost. Plenty of examples of all three breach types are found on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ “Wall of Shame.” The theft of just one portable device from an Illinois business associate in 2010 compromised 180,111 patient records.

It’s enough to send chills down any CIO’s spine, but healthcare organizations can’t give the highest quality patient care without letting staff use portable devices.

That means they need the next best thing. With users still the greatest weakness in any system, it’s not enough to trust employees to lock their devices down and keep them safe. IT needs to take charge, securing devices automatically through MDM systems.

The MDM secures, monitors, manages, and supports mobile devices. It should dictate the minimum password strength, force encryption, and be able to wipe a device remotely. And the rules need to apply to any device, whether the healthcare provider or the employee owns it. With a bring your own device policy, employees might not be prepared to agree to software that can wipe their personal data along with work information. That needn’t be a problem—as long as the MDM gives the healthcare provider control over the part of the device that houses confidential information. The best systems have a selective wipe feature.

Take MDM to the cloud to make life easier

These days, your choice of MDM can have a cloud-based delivery model and still:

  • Comply with healthcare regulations
  • Satisfy auditors
  • Keep mobile device management costs down

MDM via the cloud is an attractive model for the healthcare industry because of the transitional nature of many employees. Here, of course, is where the cloud has always come into its own: the ability to scale up and scale down as user numbers change. With cloud-based MDM, you can support more or fewer users with ease.

Handling MDM in the cloud saves investment and overhead connected to new servers and new software. IT staff need only discover, enroll, manage, and report on mobile device status. They also need a reporting process for employees to alert them to lost and stolen devices so IT can respond quickly.

For users, benefits include the ease of getting the device of their choice online. They don’t need to visit IT to have someone do it for them. A simple webpage configured by IT allows them to apply and tap their way through accepting the terms.

They can have MDM running on their devices almost instantly. Updates are pushed out, which is what they’re likely already used to on their mobile devices.

It’s a win-win for the IT department, staff, regulators, and above all, patients.

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