December 28, 2018
HHS, in Partnership with Industry, Releases Voluntary Cybersecurity Practices for the Health Industry
On Friday, December 28, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the “Health Industry Cybersecurity Practices (HICP): Managing Threats and Protecting Patients” publication. The four volume publication, aims to provide voluntary cybersecurity practices to healthcare organizations of all types and sizes, ranging from local clinics to large hospital systems.
The industry-led effort was in response to a mandate set forth by the Cybersecurity Act of 2015 Section 405(d), to develop practical cybersecurity guidelines to cost-effectively reduce cybersecurity risks for the healthcare industry. The publication marks the culmination of a two-year effort that brought together over 150 cybersecurity and healthcare experts from industry and the government under the Healthcare and Public Health (HPH) Sector Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Public-Private Partnership. It was the result of a true public-private partnership to better secure the nation’s health systems.
“Cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility. It is the responsibility of every organization working in healthcare and public health. In all of our efforts, we must recognize and leverage the value of partnerships among government and industry stakeholders to tackle the shared problems collaboratively,” said Janet Vogel, HHS Acting Chief Information Security Officer.
Technologies are vital to the healthcare industry and help provide life-saving treatments and improve patient care. However, these same technologies are vulnerable to myriad attacks from adversaries, ranging from criminals and hacktivists to nation-states. These technologies can be exploited to gain access to personal patient data or render entire hospital systems inoperable. Recent cyber-attacks against the nation’s healthcare industry continue to highlight the importance of ensuring these technologies are safe and secure.
“The healthcare industry is truly a varied digital ecosystem. We heard loud and clear through this process that providers need actionable and practical advice, tailored to their needs, to manage modern cyber threats. That is exactly what this resource delivers; recommendations stratified by the size of the organization, written for both the clinician as well as the IT subject matter expert.” said Erik Decker, industry co-lead and Chief Information Security and Privacy Officer for the University of Chicago Medicine.
The HICP publication aims to provide cybersecurity practices for this vast, diverse, and open sector to ultimately improve the security and safety of patients. The main document of the publication explores the five most relevant and current threats to the industry. It also recommends 10 Cybersecurity Practices to help mitigate these threats. The main document presents real-life events and statistics that demonstrate the financial and patient care impacts of cyber incidents. It also lays out a call to action for all industry stakeholders, from C-suite executives and healthcare practitioners to IT security professionals, that protective and preventive measures must be taken now. The publication also includes two technical volumes geared for IT and IT security professionals. Technical Volume 1 focuses on cybersecurity practices for small healthcare organizations, while Technical Volume 2 focuses on practices for medium and large healthcare organizations. The last volume provides resources and templates that organizations can leverage to assess their own cybersecurity posture as well develop policies and procedures.
This publication demonstrates the Department’s continued commitment to enhancing the security and resilience of the HPH Sector. Cybersecurity remains a top priority for HHS. HHS recognizes the importance of partnering with private industry, especially the healthcare critical infrastructure partners represented by the Health Sector Coordinating Council, to meet this milestone achievement. In the coming months, the Department will work with industry stakeholders to raise awareness and implement the recommended cybersecurity practices across the sector. For more information on this effort and to download a copy of the publication, please visit the 405(d) website at www.phe.gov/405d.