Application Security , Cloud Security , Fraud Management & Cybercrime

How 'Security by Default' Boosts Health Sector Cybersecurity

Taylor Lehmann of Google Cloud on Meeting HHS' Regulatory Goals
How 'Security by Default' Boosts Health Sector Cybersecurity
Taylor Lehmann, director of the office of the CISO, Google Cloud

Healthcare entities can easily achieve many of the cyber performance goals set by regulators if they deploy technology solutions that provide robust security by default and create an organizational culture in which security-mindedness is ingrained, said Taylor Lehmann of Google Cloud.

The healthcare sector faces many complex cybersecurity challenges, including a dependency on legacy technology, the burden of organizational politics and bureaucracy, and often a lack of resources. These factors all hinder cybersecurity efforts, said Lehmann, director of the Office of the CISO at Google Cloud.

But implementing technologies that are built with security by design and ingraining a more security-minded culture within the organization and its leadership can help foster stronger cybersecurity, he said in an interview with Information Security Media Group.

"One unique thing about healthcare is the tremendous amount of legacy technology that exists," Lehmann said. In a healthcare IT network, this technology is "really hard to secure" because it requires a "very specific approach," he said.

Achieving many of the Department of Health and Human Services' "essential" and "enhanced" goals - such as implementing strong encryption and multifactor authentication - can be "exponentially harder" when dealing with old legacy products, he said, compared to more modern computing platforms, including the cloud (see: HHS Details New Cyber Performance Goals for Health Sector).

For instance, Lehmann said, healthcare entities can automatically meet at least eight of the 20 voluntary cybersecurity performance goals that HHS recommends by deploying a server in Google Cloud rather than on-premises.

But not all newer technologies are currently built with security in mind, he said, and if more vendors shifted to that approach, the security posture of healthcare sector would be vastly improved.

Lehmann said that more companies "pick up on this this idea and start to ship products where security is turned on - and all the way up almost to the point where the product itself is unusable - and then requires you to turn some of it off," he said. If that were the approach, "we wouldn't see many of the problems we see today. Entire classes of threats would just not exist."

In this audio interview with Information Security Media Group (see audio link below photo), Lehmann also discussed:

  • Resources for helping healthcare organizations improve their cybersecurity posture;
  • Potential regulatory incentives for meeting bolstered healthcare cybersecurity expectations;
  • Other top cybersecurity issues facing the healthcare sector.

Lehmann advises Google Cloud customers on adopting a high security bar without compromise or unnecessary friction. His past work involved securing global healthcare organizations, and he has held CISO roles for hospitals, health insurance companies, health IT organizations and global banks.

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