March 1, 2018

Securing IoT Medical Devices – Benefits, Challenges, Requirements and Guidelines

medical iot overview

Connected medical devices help improve patient health in many ways, such as allowing doctors to adjust implanted devices without resorting to dangerous invasive procedures, transmitting vital medical data remotely, performing real-time patient monitoring in intensive care units, and much more. But with those rewards come risks. Medical IoT devices also present significant potential security hazards, and they’re getting worse.

Key Benefits of Connected Medical Devices

Real-time monitoring and data

Medical devices can transmit dynamic data from a patient home to hospital staff. It allows healthcare professionals to have real-time monitoring of patient’s health. This continuous patient monitoring produces real-time analytics and alerts when there are fluctuations in patients’ vital statistics. Real-time monitoring captures early warning signs of health problems and collects health-related “big data”.

Enhanced patient care

Connected medical devices encourage improved coordination and delivery of patient care through a 360* view of patient and the disease, improving the effectiveness of treatment plan;

  • Compliance with dosing schedule
  • Maintaining accurate records of dosing, monitoring

Efficiency and cost savings for manufacturer

The device manufacturer or supplier can also utilise real-time monitoring to observe device performance.

To realize great benefits envisioned in healthcare, IoT security must become a primary focus. Healthcare and IoT devices unique characteristics need a rethink about how comprehensive IoT Security needs to be implemented.

Common Security Challenges

  1. Provisioning and managing device identities at scale – creating scalable, distributed trust requires sophisticated PKI implementation
  1. Implementing the correct data protection controls – ensuring only authorized entities have access to sensitive data
  1. Preventing unauthorized access to devices – ensuring all updates and data sent to device are locally verifiable

Key Requirements for Healthcare IoT Security

  • Device and Data Security
  • Secure software / firmware updates
  • Meeting compliance requirements and requests
  • Meeting performance and device usage requirements as per the use case

Key Functional Guidelines

  • Device Trust: Establishing and managing Device Identity and Integrity
  • Data Trust: Policy driven End-to-End data security, privacy from creation to consumption
  • Operationalizing the Trust: Automating and interfacing to the standards based, proven technologies/products. E.g. Enterprise PKI products.
  • Enterprise (Hospital) Security Integration: All the hospitals have enterprise class security controls for their users and data. It is important to interoperate with the existing products seamlessly.
  • Take consideration into the health care device real-time and offline requirements

Healthcare IoT security solutions need to implement the above functional blocks as interconnected modules, not in isolation to meet data security and compliance requirements.

Device Authority’s KeyScaler platform delivers the Device Trust and Data Trust while enabling the operational scale required with automation.  KeyScaler addresses all the key requirements and guidelines defined above (and many others) to provide a simplified yet robust security solution allowing the healthcare industry to leverage enterprise security required for connected and offline medical devices. This ensures businesses do not experience disruptions due to poor device security, and helps safeguard investments into digital transformation solutions.


Learn more in our Insight Guide: Securing IoT Medical Devices.

Meet us at HIMSS 2018 on March 5th – 9th at booth 8700-48 in the Connected Health Experience.

If you’re wondering how GDPR will affect you/your business and how you can easily implement solutions to protect data to comply with GDPR, join our webinar on March 6th to ensure you’re ready before May 25th, 2018.

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