Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Chris Colosimo, Vinod Mohan, Jason Bloomberg, Scott Davis, Mike Wood

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Cloud Security, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

Enabling Trust for Healthcare IT Security | @CloudExpo #API #Cloud #Security

Why TCP/IP works for connectivity but is problematic for keeping health networks safe?

Enabling patient-doctor trust goes a long way in a provider's ability to provide care. Trust is also critical for enabling network connections that are safe, to help secure health networks.

The healthcare industry is scrambling to shore up defenses as cyberattacks and breaches increase. The rapid adoption of electronic health records/electronic medical records (EHR/EMR) has created an attractive opportunity for cyber criminals. Ponemon Research recently reported that breach costs are $363 for each stolen healthcare record, and that is the highest across all vertical markets.

Health organizations are tasked with the difficult job of protecting both the core HIS network and departmental systems. This is particularly true in multidisciplinary practices which are comprised of clinics and multi-location healthcare facilities. Typically, cyber security in healthcare built walls around the perimeter to keep the bad guys out, with critical connections enabled by TCP/IP.

TCP/IP connectivity starts with a DNS look-up so that Endpoint A can determine Endpoint B's IP address to establish a connection. Endpoint B must respond to the connection request to establish a TCP connection, despite knowing nothing about the requestor Endpoint A. Only then can Endpoint B seek more information from Endpoint A to try to establish its identity, authorization and trust.

This basic architecture has fueled scalable TCP/IP networking in healthcare. The problem is, it requires:

  • Servers with protected health information (PHI) to be heavily advertised (DNS),
  • Continual connectivity of the health network,
  • Servers to expose themselves to unknown users and devices by responding to TCP requests.

This is the perfect formula for any health organization that wants to be susceptible to network-based attacks, and to be fooled by anyone who has stolen credentials from an authorized user.

Server enforced authorization leave servers vulnerable
To defend themselves, health organizations have tried to limit authorization, usually by mapping users into Active Directory Groups that define the applications they are allowed access. The problems, from the standpoint of protection against network-based attacks, are:

  • Stolen credentials can still fool the system if based simply on username/password.
  • Servers must engage with the prospective user - establish a TCP connection and then probably a TLS connection - before enough information can be obtained to determine whether the user is authorized or not.

A lot of bad things can happen in that time frame, including SQL injection, OS or server vulnerability exploitation, connection hijacking.

In less complex times, most applications were run from within the health network and accessed by users who were either local or backhauled over the corporate WAN to access the applications. Today, many apps have moved to SaaS or to Cloud Service Providers. Health IT is challenged with protecting networks and patient data, while providing secure connectivity for those authorized to access this private information.

Software Defined Perimeters (SDP): secure, simple
The technology called Software Defined Perimeters (SDP) has been created to address the issues cited above, and is gaining traction in healthcare. SDP does not attempt to regulate traffic at the network level. It operates at the TCP level, which means it can be deployed anywhere and is transparent to network-level issues such as addressing, ownership, and changing topologies. Since data can't be accessed unless a TCP connection is established, SDP enables a medical system to completely control who gets to connect to what over their entire extended health network. It can allow only trusted connections.

In SDP, applications, services, and servers are isolated from users, creating a zero-trust network, by an SDP Gateway, which is a dynamically configured TCP Gateway. The Gateway rejects all traffic sent to protected servers unless users and endpoints are "pre-approved" as trusted by a third-party arbitrator, performed by the SDP Controller. Endpoints desiring connectivity to a destination protected by an SDP Gateway don't bother to send a connection request to that destination. Instead they "apply" for connectivity to the SDP Controller, which determines if they are trusted or not.

Trust verification involves device authentication, user authentication, and context-based information that will continue to expand over time - including location, BYOD vs. managed device, software posture, and software integrity. The goal is to evaluate overall trust as much as possible before allowing connectivity. If satisfied, the SDP Gateway dynamically configures the TCP Gateways to allow connectivity. The systems isolated and protected by the SDP gateways in this zero-trust scenario are then never exposed to:

  • Attackers who have stolen credentials
  • Unauthorized systems that may intend to exploit server or application vulnerabilities
  • Successful spear phishers trying to move laterally in a persistent search for access to sensitive data
  • Bad guys who, failing everything else, just want to deny service to others via bandwidth or resource starvation attacks

SDP Controllers and Gateways are software entities and can be deployed with no topological restriction. As a result, SDP provides a powerful tool for health organizations to completely control access based on trust, no matter where the application is (internal or cloud), who the user is (employee or non-employee), or what the device is (managed or BYOD).

More Stories By Mark Hoover

Mark Hoover is CEO of Vidder Security. He has been involved in the technology and market development of security and networking technologies over a period of almost 30 years, including Firewalls, VPNs, IP routing, ATM, Gigabit Ethernet Switching, and load balancers.

Most recently, he has been a Venture Partner at Woodside Fund for two years. Prior to that he was the president of Acuitive, a strategic marketing consulting firm that helped define product and market strategies for start-ups, including Brocade, Alteon Websystems, Netscreen, Maverick Semiconductor, Redline Networks, and many others. He started his career at AT&T Bell Labs and moved to SynOptics/Bay Networks before founding Acuitive.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the USA and Europe, we work with a variety of customers from emerging startups to Fortune 1000 companies.
Financial Technology has become a topic of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 20th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York, June 6-8, 2017, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CollabNet, a global leader in enterprise software development, release automation and DevOps solutions, will be a Bronze Sponsor of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, taking place from June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CollabNet offers a broad range of solutions with the mission of helping modern organizations deliver quality software at speed. The company’s latest innovation, the DevOps Lifecycle Manager (DLM), supports Value S...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 add...
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deli...
Automation is enabling enterprises to design, deploy, and manage more complex, hybrid cloud environments. Yet the people who manage these environments must be trained in and understanding these environments better than ever before. A new era of analytics and cognitive computing is adding intelligence, but also more complexity, to these cloud environments. How smart is your cloud? How smart should it be? In this power panel at 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, pane...
@ThingsExpo has been named the Most Influential ‘Smart Cities - IIoT' Account and @BigDataExpo has been named fourteenth by Right Relevance (RR), which provides curated information and intelligence on approximately 50,000 topics. In addition, Right Relevance provides an Insights offering that combines the above Topics and Influencers information with real time conversations to provide actionable intelligence with visualizations to enable decision making. The Insights service is applicable to eve...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Grape Up will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company specializing in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the U.S. and Europe, Grape Up works with a variety of customers from emergi...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
With billions of sensors deployed worldwide, the amount of machine-generated data will soon exceed what our networks can handle. But consumers and businesses will expect seamless experiences and real-time responsiveness. What does this mean for IoT devices and the infrastructure that supports them? More of the data will need to be handled at - or closer to - the devices themselves.
Cloud promises the agility required by today’s digital businesses. As organizations adopt cloud based infrastructures and services, their IT resources become increasingly dynamic and hybrid in nature. Managing these require modern IT operations and tools. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Raj Sundaram, Senior Principal Product Manager at CA Technologies, will discuss how to modernize your IT operations in order to proactively manage your hybrid cloud and IT environments. He will be sharing be...
As DevOps methodologies expand their reach across the enterprise, organizations face the daunting challenge of adapting related cloud strategies to ensure optimal alignment, from managing complexity to ensuring proper governance. How can culture, automation, legacy apps and even budget be reexamined to enable this ongoing shift within the modern software factory?
Building a cross-cloud operational model can be a daunting task. Per-cloud silos are not the answer, but neither is a fully generic abstraction plane that strips out capabilities unique to a particular provider. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Wolf, VP & Chief Technology Officer, Global Field & Industry at VMware, will discuss how successful organizations approach cloud operations and management, with insights into where operations should be centralized and when it’s best to decentraliz...
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
@GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Analytic. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
In recent years, containers have taken the world by storm. Companies of all sizes and industries have realized the massive benefits of containers, such as unprecedented mobility, higher hardware utilization, and increased flexibility and agility; however, many containers today are non-persistent. Containers without persistence miss out on many benefits, and in many cases simply pass the responsibility of persistence onto other infrastructure, adding additional complexity.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.