“Managing Healthcare Insider Security Threats” Needs to Include Data Protection


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Over the past few weeks, there have several posts in my LinkedIn feed around the growing concern around insider threats for healthcare organizations.  The most recent of these posts was a write-by  Dan Fabbri on Maize Analytics which was a summary of his thoughts on a recent HIMMS study performed by SailPoint.  In his (Dan Fabbri) post he calls out the following to combat healthcare insider threats:

The best way to combat insider threats is by combining a training and awareness program with technology. With machine learning, user-based analytics, and artificial intelligence programs that monitor ePHI access, hospitals can catch inappropriate access to patient data.

While this approach is one step in controlling access to sensitive data the reality is that it is not protecting the data.  The above approach should be partnered with technical solutions that classify and protect the data that may be exported out of clinical systems.  Traditionally, some of the larger healthcare organizations have tried to implement a client (agent) based DLP solution(s) to address this scenario but in a lot of cases have had challenges, if not failures, due to the complexity of these systems.

Given that the majority of the data generated out of a clinical system ends up in an unstructured form (ie Office or PDF files, makes up 85% of unstructured data in most corporations) a technical solution that classifies and protect these files at the time of creation should be considered.   One such technical solution that can classify and protect files is Microsoft’s Azure Information Protection (AIP) which automatically labels sensitive files being created by staff.

An example from working with healthcare customers is that physicians were exporting sensitive patient data from the EMR in order to perform clinical research with colleagues at another healthcare organization.  This data was being sent in an Excel format via email with no protection and was accidentally sent to a recipient with 1000’s of sensitive patient information.  In this scenario, if AIP had been in place the data could have been automatically classified as having sensitive patient information then applied protection (encrypting the file) to ensure that unattended recipients couldn’t have opened up the document.  This protection is applied at the file level so even if the file was placed on an external drive, a network share or online storage (Box, DropBox, Google Drive, OneDrive, etc) it would still be safe.

As healthcare organizations adopt Exchange Online and other cloud technologies, leveraging a Cloud App Security Broker (CAS-B) to monitor for sensitive data leaving the organization should be a technical solution to evaluate to further expand data protection.

More information about Microsoft’s Azure Information Protection can protect data is available here.


Kick Off the New Year with Microsoft Transformational Webinar for the Modern Workplace

The Microsoft Healthcare Blog recently posted about this great event to start off the new year. Provided below is a summary of what will be covered during this week of presentations starting on 1/7.

  • Session 1, January 7: Microsoft Teams Governance and Adoption in Healthcare & Life Sciences
  • Session 2, January 8: HLS Enterprise Data Governance and Management
  • Session 3, January 9: Enterprise Data Visualization with Power BI
  • Session 4, January 10: Protecting High Risk Healthcare & Life Science Data with Identity and Conditional Access
  • Session 5, January 11: Guarding the HLS Gate with Microsoft Threat Intelligence

More details on each of these sessions can be found here.

Kicking Off the New Year with a Blog Relaunch

It’s been a few years, actually over 3,  since I have blogged personally and I have missed the the cathartic relief of putting my own thoughts down on electronic paper provides.


With that being said, starting in the new year off I will be reigniting my blog  to discuss items related to technology and security that I come across on a weekly basis in working with customers.  Other items that will appear here will be focused on personal technical items and pictures I capture as I am out with the family or while traveling.


Microsoft Must Watch Videos 4/10/2015

The History of Microsoft – 1975 | The History of Microsoft

New Usability Improvements in the Azure Portal

Get a guided look at the #Windows10 developer’s platform

Learn more about Microsoft’s Cloud Suite Offerings: EMS and ECS

Endpoint Zone Episode 7: Office 365 Mobile Device Management

Microsoft experts teach you how to administer @SQLServer 2012 in this FREE jump start

Data on #Azure: A Technology Overview

Get to know Microsoft #PowerBI

Introducing Exchange Online Advanced Threat Protection

SQLServer Unplugged: Episode 3

.NET Core Deep Dive

Quick Nano Server PXE boot demo

Look Ahead at Security and the Cloud

Surface 3 in the Classroom

Microsoft Cloud: empowering AccuWeather

Overview of Azure Machine Learning

Microsoft Must Watch Videos 4/3/2015

Alaska Airlines Takes to the Air with Windows Tablets

Getting Started with Microsoft Intune Trial

Microsoft Azure ML Helps JJ Food Service Predict Customers’ Shopping Lists – Even Before They Shop! 

Bekaert Textiles Scales, Protects SAP With Hybrid Cloud Solution

Office Lens for iPhones

Office Lens for Android

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Project Spartan:  Beyond Browsing

Learn the ins-and-outs of @Azure fundamentals in this FREE on-demand training!

Video tutorial: Perform a self-service password reset w/write-back using #Azure Active Directory Premium

How the Surface 3 was Designed

Skype for Business Mobile App Demo

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PowerBI:  How Data Changes Your Business

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The Walking Dead advert shows how the Surface Pro 3 can be used to stage an attack on zombies

Microsoft Must Watch Videos 3/27/2015

A First Look at Building Windows 10 Universal Apps

Azure in 5 Minutes: Configuring Azure Backup

Learn how Azure App Service Web Apps help devs build & scale! 

The Secure Cloud

A beginner’s guide to #SharePoint Online in 15 minutes!

Business advantages of the cloud- save money; be more efficient & collaborative

Microsoft IT hosted a webinar on System Center 2012. If you missed it, check it out here

Block infected devices from your org. Demo here:  A deep look into #Azure AD reporting for #Office365

Discover how #Windows10 can keep your organization secure

and for the kids…

Fight the Empire in @StarWars Rebels: Recon Missions