Security risks are among hospitals’ biggest obstacles. Is your organization ready to tackle the challenges that are in store?

As 2014 came to a close, there were headlines–en masse–of security breaches that shone a bright light on the fact that no healthcare organization, no matter how large or small, was immune to patient data breaches.

A breach of patient data can be catastrophic, not only from a PR and public image standpoint, but to a hospital’s bottom line, as well. The AMA estimates–conservatively–that the cost of breaches such as these could be in the millions. Today’s attackers have proved to be more creative than ever when it comes to obtaining sensitive patient data and it is up to the organization’s IT security team to ensure that data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. 89% of IT decision-makers say that security technologies are critical or important to creating a business advantage.

To protect your hospital’s critical business information, follow these 7 best practices:

1) A Comprehensive, Up-to-date Mobile Approach

Take a mobile and services-based view on your organization’s security policies. Be sure to enforce policies consistently across various users and usage models. Ensure that data stays off the end-points by embracing technologies that centralize data and apps in the data center while giving your clinicians the access they need.

2) Automate Security Seamlessly

Automate security within the organization seamlessly by building desired behaviors into the user experience- and monitor your effectiveness continuously.

3) Engage With Line of Business Organizations

Close working relationships between IT executives and line-of-business managers are essential ingredient for effective security. Meeting regularly with business decision makers in the healthcare organization empowers security leaders to build appropriate safeguards into new business initiatives right from the beginning.

4) Build Security Into the Solution

To ensure that there are no gaps in security, healthcare IT staff must architect and maintain an information technology foundation that builds security directly into the solution.

5) Cover All Bases

Focus on a comprehensive security plan that protects across various areas, such as applications, data, devices, networks and usage. Clinicians wish to be mobile and share information. Ensure that the tools provided to them are secure and implement a security plan that covers anything that interacts with patient data.

6) Educate

Educating your care givers is vital. An informed, security-conscious staff is every hospital’s first line of defense against security threats, so teaching people how to work safely from any location on any device must be a top priority. Be sure to implement policies that are personal and specific to the job people are doing.

7) Audit, Measure and Report

A security plan cannot be effective if it isn’t properly scrutinized and measured properly. An organization must constantly audit, measure and report on security effectiveness across governance, compliance and risk management programs.

If you were in the New York area this week attending IHT2 NY, hopefully you were able to visit our booth and be hear from our Chief Security Strategist, Kurt Roemer, as he provided his insights during the “Dissecting Cybersecurity: Myth or Realities?” panel. If you missed it or would like to hear more from Kurt, you can view his on-demand webcast “Intelligent Secure Mobility in Healthcare,” here.

If you’d like to learn more on how Citrix is helping healthcare organizations embrace mobility without compromising security, be sure to visit

Nitin Sharma is a leader in solutions and vertical marketing strategy in the high-tech industry. At Citrix, Nitin is responsible for designing and executing global, company-wide go-to-market strategies for the healthcare and manufacturing industries. With a passion for solving business problems with technology solutions, Nitin has enjoyed 3 years in various solutions sales and marketing roles—targeting audiences at all levels: executive, line of business, and IT. Nitin holds a BBA in Finance from the Florida International University. You are welcome to connect with him on LinkedIn or via twitter: