Why Healthcare Needs a Code to Cloud Security Platform

Apr 11, 2024
7 minutes

The adoption of cloud infrastructure for application modernization is a significant trend, and healthcare is no different. However, the sensitive nature of health data, combined with the healthcare sector's increasing reliance on cloud infrastructure, makes it a prime target for cyberthreats. From March 2023 to March 2024, healthcare entities reported 633 data breaches to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR), with each incident affecting more than 500 patients.

Adversaries are going after the mission-critical applications and data that healthcare delivery organizations (HDOs) maintain in their cloud environments:

  • Protected Healthcare Information (PHI)—including medical records, test results and treatment plans—holds substantial market value on the dark web.
  • Personally Identifiable Information (PII), which encompasses sensitive details such as names, addresses, Social Security numbers and medical histories, is highly attractive to identity thieves who seek to exploit personal information.
  • Payment Card Data (covered by PCI DSS), such as credit card and cardholder information stored in patient records, pharmacy systems and even retail gift shop payment systems, can be stolen, increasing the risk of fraudulent transactions.
  • Intellectual Property (IP), such as research findings, innovative medical technologies and proprietary methodologies produced within HDOs is coveted by malicious actors who aim to gain an unfair advantage or financial windfall.

The recent Change Healthcare attack, for instance, was carried out by ransomware and disrupted healthcare procedures such as medical billing prescription fulfillment.

Most organizations have realized that collections of legacy, on-premises solutions simply don’t cut it for Code to Cloud security. These solutions lack an understanding of business-specific contexts (such as PHI and HIPAA) and provide a siloed view of risk, generating an excessive number of alerts, most of which are low-risk or false positives.

A Code to Cloud security platform can help.

What Is a Code to Cloud Security Platform?

The cloud-native application protection platform (CNAPP) approach to cloud security emerged to address security challenges by identifying, correlating and prioritizing risk signals across cloud infrastructure. Most of the CNAPP products, however, have critical limitations:

  • Lack of protection: Only alerts security teams when cloud risks are identified and can’t protect against threats such as vulnerability exploits or data exfiltration.
  • Limited risk prevention: Many CNAPP solutions only alert against security issues in the cloud. But most misconfigurations and vulnerabilities are introduced by developers in code and are difficult to resolve once they’ve reached production.
  • No Code to Cloud context: Organizations juggling tools across code, cloud and application security face challenges jumping from console to console and stitching data together. They also lose valuable time tracing issues back to the source and performing root cause analysis.

A Code to Cloud security platform addresses the shortcomings inherent in many CNAPPs by protecting applications and data throughout the software development lifecycle—from code to runtime.

3 Benefits of a Code to Cloud Security Platform

Healthcare organizations moving to the cloud face unique challenges—challenges that can be solved by a Code to Cloud security platform. Here are just a few benefits organizations can expect.

Benefit #1: Scaling Understaffed Teams by Consolidating Tools

With budgets tightening, cybersecurity talent difficult to staff, and too many siloed tools to effectively monitor, it's becoming increasingly difficult for healthcare entities to ensure adequate protection of their cloud environment. This can result in a slow response to emerging threats, which is unacceptable when dealing with critical healthcare infrastructure.

To overcome this problem, security teams need a single console that:

  • Consolidates all code, application and cloud risk signals into a single data lake
  • Combines security signals to find combinations of issues that form attack paths—including breached pathways—to aid alert prioritization
  • Performs root cause analysis, tracing production risks back to the development environment and code where remediation efforts are easiest

This is where a Code to Cloud security platform helps, giving security teams visibility across their code, application and cloud environments. Using a single risk engine, a Code to Cloud platform correlates signals, using context to aid risk prioritization. Since the platform is aware of the entire environment, it tracks critical risks back to developer code and can even prevent vulnerabilities from being deployed to the cloud.

Consolidate, contextualize and address risk with a single engine
Consolidate, contextualize and address risk with a single engine

Benefit #2: Protecting Sensitive Data

Healthcare organizations are a treasure trove of sensitive data such as patient health records. The loss or exposure of this data could lead to financial ramifications, legal issues and a damaged reputation. Protecting PHI data is about maintaining trust. Patients expect their information to be kept confidential, and ensuring data security helps meet these expectations.

A Code to Cloud security platform offers controls normally found in standalone data security posture management (DSPM) tools, including discovery, classification, protection and governance of sensitive data hosted in the cloud. This means healthcare institutions can seamlessly protect sensitive information such as PHI, PII, IP and credit card data with the same platform that protects the rest of their cloud environment.

By continuously monitoring cloud datastores and automating security controls, a Code to Cloud platform empowers healthcare providers to innovate in the cloud while protecting patient privacy and maintaining the integrity of electronic protected health information (ePHI).

Benefit #3: Saving Time on Compliance Efforts

Staying compliant has never been an easy task and moving to the cloud increases the complexity of that endeavor. Healthcare organizations handling sensitive data must comply with multiple complex frameworks such as HIPAA or HITRUST, which means cycles are continuously being spent on compliance drills such as reporting and auditing. A Code to Cloud security platform can reduce compliance efforts by as much as 90%. That’s because security teams can easily understand which of their regulated cloud assets would pass or fail specific HIPAA compliance checks, remediate violations and generate audit-ready reports.

Out of the box HIPAA compliance checks across multicloud environments
Out of the box HIPAA compliance checks across multicloud environments

Healthcare Organizations Rely on Prisma Cloud

Prisma Cloud is the Code to Cloud security platform that protects multicloud environments and applications across the development lifecycle—code, build, deploy and run. The platform consolidates security controls across cloud infrastructure, workloads, code, data, APIs and more into a single engine.

The benefits of Prisma Cloud in the healthcare industry were demonstrated in a recent Forrester Total Economic Impact survey that analyzed the financial impact of a Code to Cloud platform on specific healthcare organizations.

In addition to demonstrable ROI, including a 48% reduction in SecOps team effort to investigate incidents and a 60% reduction in DevOps time spent addressing vulnerabilities, healthcare security professionals were vocal about the impact of deploying Prisma Cloud…

“We are operating multi-cloud. And we can leverage 20 or 30 compliance policies, from Prisma Cloud, that we can deploy out of the box across all of our clouds. Prisma Cloud does all that work for us.” - Cloud security director, healthcare

“There was no way we could manage 100 accounts without a tool like Prisma Cloud. It simply would not happen. The type of automated scanning and protecting is just not feasible without Prisma Cloud.” - Cloud security engineer, healthcare

Defend Your Healthcare Organization Against Increasing Threats

Healthcare organizations are prime targets for attack, with breaches having devastating long-term consequences. Protect your organization before it's too late—you can start by requesting a free 30-day trial of Prisma Cloud.



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