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Health Insurers Digital Footprint Widening Attack Surface
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4/21/2015 | 1:44:10 PM
Congress Anxious for Change
I've worked in healthcare since 2006 and it's no surprise to see these statistics when stacked up against commercial software companies that I've worked with in the past.  No matter the industry, whether it be financial, government or similar, the folks you think should have the best security practices often don't for reasons spanning cost to lack of subject matter experts as regular resources on their security design and implementation teams. 

Over the years as my interest in security has grown, I've still maintained this is going to always happen and that often the effort that goes into changing the end users is wasted.  Rather, assuming the user will always make mistakes we ought to look to the future and design systems that will do the thinking for the users; truly "fool" proof.  But that isn't always a specifically security-oriented technology or process.  Sometimes you need to innovate in the industry to build into the tech that is used (for healthcare - hospitals and insurance - that could mean vendors like McKesson, GE or platforms used by insurance agencies) need to rethink how they design and code to meet not only the challenge of the cracker but of the "fool". 

At a recent Senate Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security congressional hearing on cyber insurance, Ben Beeson, the Washington-based vice president for cyber security and privacy with Lockton Cos. L.L.C., was heard to respond to a post-hearing interview question to say the hearing was "hugely important for our clients and industry."  He was noted as musing "How do you get industry (companies) to raise its game, to improve its resilience against that type of threat?" He also said "I don't think you can legislate minimum security standards. It's about an approach, a culture. It's very difficult to be prescriptive."  I think he was on the money when he add "Congress would rather see the market try to help solve the problem."  And that, he noted,  "puts the insurance industry in a place perhaps where it didn't expect to be: Congress says, "We want you at the front of the conversation.' " [1] 

And that's it, isn't it?  It's not just about throwing more cybersecurity tech at the problem, but working on the solution from the industry up, and perhaps changing how tech in that industry is done, as well as the fallible processes that drive it. 

[1] Business Insurance, March 25 2015, "Congress seeks solutions on cyber risk that include insurance" by Mark A. Hoffman


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