Part 5 of our Security in Healthcare series

Historically, three factors have prevented many organisations from moving forward with new technologies: lack of money, proprietary systems, and the need to “rip and replace”
It’s difficult for hospital security directors to provide a quantified ROI in an updated security system

Several forces are working in favour of greater adoption of hospital security and video surveillance technologies in the healthcare market. “Healthcare facilities and campuses are growing at a rapid rate to accommodate an aging population and the research and development of pharmacology and many different types of medical devices or technology”, says Steve Birkmeier, VP of Sales and Business Development, Arteco.

“This boon to the industry also increases the risk of theft, trespassing, vandalism and even active shooter threats to these campuses, putting vulnerable patients and staff in harm’s way,” he says. “Since these characteristics are always in flux, healthcare customers are in the market for flexible solutions that can adapt and scale to the shape and size of individual campuses.”

But what factors are standing in the way of greater implementation of video surveillance and security technology? The largest one is lack of funding.

“These campuses are constantly under strict budgetary or compliance constraints,” says Birkmeier. “So they are also looking to expand at a low marginal cost without having to sacrifice security measures or forgo regulation.”

Looking For ROI In Physical Security

"As long as the security team is
able to invest in sound access
control,  visitor management and
video  systems, they are in a
good place"

Customers investing in security often look for a return on investment (ROI). However, Dave Ella, Vice President of Product Marketing, AMAG Technology, says it’s always tricky for hospital security directors to provide a quantified ROI in an updated security system, and that reality holds back investment. However, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations provide leverage for security managers as there is a benchmark they need to meet or exceed. This can help to justify investment in physical security, Ella says.

“Hospital security teams understand the benefits of new technologies,” says Ella. “Financial restrictions hold back investment in some security measures that could be implemented. As long as the security team is able to invest in sound access control, visitor management and video systems, they are in a good place.”

Factors Obstructing New Security Installation

Historically, three factors have prevented many organizations from moving forward with new technologies: lack of money, proprietary systems, and the need to “rip and replace” large parts of the installed systems, says Robert Laughlin, President, Galaxy Control Systems. “Today, while funding is almost always a limiting factor at some level, the progression of industry standards and ‘open’ systems has made a big positive impact on the ability of organizations to upgrade cost-effectively,” he says.

“The difference is that facilities can now be upgraded by replacing only part of a system, rather than the entire system. And, similar developments have resulted in key system functionality being executed in software rather than hardware, which also provides upgrade pathways that do not require wholesale replacement of system elements”, says Laughlin. “Together, these factors have drastically improved the cost and functionality of systems for end users.”

Some healthcare facilities are not harnessing the potential power of their newly improved video management systems
Training and education of security practitioners is required to bring awareness of the new surveillance technologies that are available

Inertia - A Hindrance To Adopting Healthcare Security

“Inertia is another challenge. “Do nothing” is the biggest factor in slowing the adoption of new technologies,” says Jeff Whitney, Arecont Vision’s Vice President of Marketing. ”Adoption of technologies in healthcare is frequently driven by opportunity such as a new building or facility, changes in legislation or regulation, or external factors such as incidents, crime, or lawsuit,” he says.

Megapixel camera technology, which is Arecont Vision’s focus, has the ability to reduce costs of surveillance while dramatically increasing video quality and coverage, and thus is often selected as part of the solution. “Training and education of security practitioners continues to be required to bring awareness of the new surveillance technologies that are available, what benefits they bring, and how to design and implement such systems in place of legacy analog surveillance deployments,” says Whitney.

Proactive Use Of Video Management Systems

Some healthcare facilities are not harnessing the potential power of their newly improved video management systems, says Ella of AMAG. “The systems need to be made more proactive. Viewing areas and recoding video is not enough. Video is capable of being part of an integrated prevention tool to respond quickly to developing incidents. “

“I would say healthcare security
professionals in general are early
adopters of technology and like to
implement the best technology
available”

It’s important for the video system to be integrated directly to the access control and alarm management system, says Ella. Whenever an alarm or event occurs, the security officer must see exactly what has happened within seconds and respond accordingly. By linking – or tagging – video to access control events and alarms, and by building on that with automated triggers and workflows, AMAG customers are able to make their video systems much more responsive and proactive to security incidents. To meet the needs of healthcare facilities and other business sectors with similar issues, AMAG has integrated the Symmetry system to more than 15 different video management systems.

Despite any obstacles, healthcare customers generally welcome new innovations. “I would say healthcare security professionals in general are early adopters of technology and like to implement the best technology available,” says Jim Stankevich, Global Manager – Healthcare Security, Tyco Security Products. “For most, rapid implementation is limited by budgets and available funding.”

Read Part 6 of our Security in Healthcare series here

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version Download PDF version

Author profile

Larry Anderson Editor, SecurityInformed.com & SourceSecurity.com

An experienced journalist and long-time presence in the US security industry, Larry is SecurityInformed.com's eyes and ears in the fast-changing security marketplace, attending industry and corporate events, interviewing security leaders and contributing original editorial content to the site. He leads SecurityInformed's team of dedicated editorial and content professionals, guiding the "editorial roadmap" to ensure the site provides the most relevant content for security professionals.

In case you missed it

Water Plant Attack Emphasizes Cyber’s Impact On Physical Security
Water Plant Attack Emphasizes Cyber’s Impact On Physical Security

At an Oldsmar, Fla., water treatment facility on Feb. 5, an operator watched a computer screen as someone remotely accessed the system monitoring the water supply and increased the amount of sodium hydroxide from 100 parts per million to 11,100 parts per million. The chemical, also known as lye, is used in small concentrations to control acidity in the water. In larger concentrations, the compound is poisonous – the same corrosive chemical used to eat away at clogged drains. The impact of cybersecurity attacks The incident is the latest example of how cybersecurity attacks can translate into real-world, physical security consequences – even deadly ones.Cybersecurity attacks on small municipal water systems have been a concern among security professionals for years. The computer system was set up to allow remote access only to authorized users. The source of the unauthorized access is unknown. However, the attacker was only in the system for 3 to 5 minutes, and an operator corrected the concentration back to 100 parts per million soon after. It would have taken a day or more for contaminated water to enter the system. In the end, the city’s water supply was not affected. There were other safeguards in place that would have prevented contaminated water from entering the city’s water supply, which serves around 15,000 residents. The remote access used for the attack was disabled pending an investigation by the FBI, Secret Service and Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. On Feb. 2, a compilation of breached usernames and passwords, known as COMB for “Compilation of Many Breaches,” was leaked online. COMB contains 3.2 billion unique email/password pairs. It was later discovered that the breach included the credentials for the Oldsmar water plant. Water plant attacks feared for years Cybersecurity attacks on small municipal water systems have been a concern among security professionals for years. Florida’s Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted that the attempt to poison the water supply should be treated as a “matter of national security.” “The incident at the Oldsmar water treatment plant is a reminder that our nation’s critical infrastructure is continually at risk; not only from nation-state attackers, but also from malicious actors with unknown motives and goals,” comments Mieng Lim, VP of Product Management at Digital Defense Inc., a provider of vulnerability management and threat assessment solutions.The attack on Oldsmar’s water treatment system shows how critical national infrastructure is increasingly becoming a target for hackers as organizations bring systems online “Our dependency on critical infrastructure – power grids, utilities, water supplies, communications, financial services, emergency services, etc. – on a daily basis emphasizes the need to ensure the systems are defended against any adversary,” Mieng Lim adds. “Proactive security measures are crucial to safeguard critical infrastructure systems when perimeter defenses have been compromised or circumvented. We have to get back to the basics – re-evaluate and rebuild security protections from the ground up.” "This event reinforces the increasing need to authenticate not only users, but the devices and machine identities that are authorized to connect to an organization's network,” adds Chris Hickman, Chief Security Officer at digital identity security vendor Keyfactor. “If your only line of protection is user authentication, it will be compromised. It's not necessarily about who connects to the system, but what that user can access once they're inside. "If the network could have authenticated the validity of the device connecting to the network, the connection would have failed because hackers rarely have possession of authorized devices. This and other cases of hijacked user credentials can be limited or mitigated if devices are issued strong, crypto-derived, unique credentials like a digital certificate. In this case, it looks like the network had trust in the user credential but not in the validity of the device itself. Unfortunately, this kind of scenario is what can happen when zero trust is your end state, not your beginning point." “The attack on Oldsmar’s water treatment system shows how critical national infrastructure is increasingly becoming a target for hackers as organizations bring systems online for the first time as part of digital transformation projects,” says Gareth Williams, Vice President - Secure Communications & Information Systems, Thales UK. “While the move towards greater automation and connected switches and control systems brings unprecedented opportunities, it is not without risk, as anything that is brought online immediately becomes a target to be hacked.” Operational technology to mitigate attacks Williams advises organizations to approach Operational Technology as its own entity and put in place procedures that mitigate against the impact of an attack that could ultimately cost lives. This means understanding what is connected, who has access to it and what else might be at risk should that system be compromised, he says. “Once that is established, they can secure access through protocols like access management and fail-safe systems.”  “The cyberattack against the water supply in Oldsmar should come as a wakeup call,” says Saryu Nayyar, CEO, Gurucul.  “Cybersecurity professionals have been talking about infrastructure vulnerabilities for years, detailing the potential for attacks like this, and this is a near perfect example of what we have been warning about,” she says.  Although this attack was not successful, there is little doubt a skilled attacker could execute a similar infrastructure attack with more destructive results, says Nayyar. Organizations tasked with operating and protecting critical public infrastructure must assume the worst and take more serious measures to protect their environments, she advises. Fortunately, there were backup systems in place in Oldsmar. What could have been a tragedy instead became a cautionary tale. Both physical security and cybersecurity professionals should pay attention.

Expert Roundup: Healthy Buildings, Blockchain, AI, Skilled Workers, And More
Expert Roundup: Healthy Buildings, Blockchain, AI, Skilled Workers, And More

Our Expert Panel Roundtable is an opinionated group. However, for a variety of reasons, we are sometimes guilty of not publishing their musings in a timely manner. At the end of 2020, we came across several interesting comments among those that were previously unpublished. Following is a catch-all collection of those responses, addressing some of the most current and important issues in the security marketplace in 2021.

Smart Offices: How Is Mobile ID Changing The Way We Access The Office?
Smart Offices: How Is Mobile ID Changing The Way We Access The Office?

If you’re a security or facilities manager, you may already be aware of the quiet revolution that’s taking place across businesses and organizations up and down the country. By the end of 2020, 20% of all ID and access control systems featured mobile capability, and this is set to increase by a further 34% over the next three years. There’s no doubt that using a smartphone or mobile device in place of traditional credential and access control is a growing trend that’s only been sped up by the pandemic. It’s true that many businesses are still very much focused on remote working, although many are now starting to implement new-and-improved strategies that are better suited to protect the workforce moving forward. Mobile ID systems As the next normal becomes clearer, businesses will be reviewing procedures such as access control, occupancy monitoring, reducing touch points, and tracking visitors. Mobile ID systems are ideally suited to this task. But what are the key reasons for considering such a setup in 2021? But why is this new technology so well-suited to future-proof your physical access system, and why is it becoming so popular? Eradicating outdated legacy credentials Have you seen just how vulnerable outdated Proximity card technology can be? Low-frequency 125kHz cards can be cloned in a matter of seconds with the use of cheap, readily available tools. Despite their weaknesses, they are still used by a huge majority of businesses – big and small. All smartphones include two industry-standard features that make them perfect for operating a secure, contactless credential Replacing such a system with a mobile-enabled system is one of the best ways to increase security ten-fold. Thanks to a cloud-based infrastructure, mobile ID offers best-in-class security and cryptography. All smartphones include two industry-standard features that make them perfect for operating a secure, contactless credential. Bluetooth Smart and NFC (Near Field Communication) make them the best product to operate such a credential via a secure app. If you’re looking for best-in-class security in 2021, mobile access is most definitely the way forward. Removing touch points across the business Reducing touch points and the adoption of touchless facilities has become a key priority for businesses in the wake of COVID-19. Even as businesses start to return to the office and operate a home/office split, it will be imperative that unnecessary contact is kept to an absolute minimum between staff. The traditional issuance of identification and access control credentials can pose problems in this regard. Facility and security managers who are responsible for onboarding and processing ID have done the process face to face. Mobile access makes it possible to carry this process out without people coming into direct content. First, the security manager has access to a secure portal, allowing them to create, manage and edit credentials anywhere. They can upload and remotely transfer mobile ID and access control credentials directly to users’ smartphones over the air. Via the secure app, users can view and see their credentials and immediately begin using it for ID and access control by simply placing their smartphone over card readers. Enabling a more flexible way of working The way in which we work has changed for good. Even as people more people return to the office in 2021, a majority of businesses will be operating a home/office split indefinitely. This once again reinforces the need for a smarter, more adaptable onboarding system. Implementing mobile ID is the perfect way of doing this: over-the-air delivery of credentials and security data is now a given, helping businesses create the perfect balance between the home and the office. No longer do people have to come into the office for the onboarding process. Increasing convenience and user experience More often businesses are realising the value mobile ID can have for enhancing the work experience as well as security Ok, so mobile ID is the perfect way of increasing security and adapting workplaces to a post-COVID way of working. And we’ve not even touched on the most obvious advantage yet: Convenience. How many times have you forgotten your ID card? We’re sure it’s more times than you forget your smartphone. These powerful processors have become intertwined with the way we carry out tasks on a daily basis. They’re so vital that people will soon notice if they’ve forgotten it. From an employee’s perspective, mobile ID and access control is simple, convenient, and extremely user-friendly. More and more businesses are realizing the value mobile ID can have for enhancing the work experience as well as security. From the employer’s perspective, mobile ID means it’s easier for administrators to manage access and credentials. Future-proofing access control now will ensure that in the longer term, mobile ID is well worth the investment. The annual expenditure of printing ID cards and purchasing credentials can be vast, while reissuance costs can also quickly add up for larger organizations. These issues are a thing of the past for businesses using mobile ID. Mobile ID perfect tool for 2021 and beyond Until mobile ID, new and improved credentials’ main focus was on increasing security. Mobile ID not only delivers that, but it also provides a more convenient way of accessing the office in a way that’s perfectly suited to returning to the office in 2021. If there was ever a time to upgrade, now is the time. Summing up, mobile access is changing the way we access the office by: Eliminating weak links in security systems such as outdated legacy card technologies Eradicating the need for touch points across multiple areas of the workplace Enabling a smarter, more flexible approach to onboarding Increasing convenience – for both employers and employees.