Sep 27 2021

How Healthcare Organizations Can Safeguard IT Assets in the Modern Digital Age

It’s important to deploy an integrated power management solution that aligns disaster avoidance and cybersecurity strategies.

The healthcare landscape is evolving fast, and there are a variety of factors influencing the path forward. The pandemic continues to have a major impact on healthcare IT strategies, coinciding with technology advancements that are changing the way hospitals look and operate. However, one thing remains consistent amid these changes, and that’s the need to safeguard critical systems.

In addition to understanding how best to deploy and manage foundational power infrastructure during an active storm season, it’s important to align power management solutions with health IT priorities while factoring in cybersecurity.

The Importance of Power Management in Security Strategies

In a shift that has only accelerated during the pandemic, healthcare organizations are building out their digital infrastructure to accommodate new virtual capabilities and improve patient care. Transitioning to a distributed IT framework has helped organizations facilitate this move, allowing them to deploy edge data centers and network closets in offsite facilities such as urgent care clinics. This can give IT staff more control over operations while improving connectivity and driving faster and higher quality services to patients.

While healthcare organizations are experiencing undeniable benefits from the digital transformation, there are challenges to be aware of as the landscape evolves. First and foremost, as hospitals move to more decentralized IT networks, ensuring uptime becomes even more critical. An unexpected outage could result in damage ranging from ruined lab results in cold storage facilities to lost or compromised patient data.

LEARN MORE: Automation and security can help healthcare organizations get ahead.

Cybersecurity also poses a mounting challenge with the emergence of electronic medical records, the cloud and the Internet of Things. Given the increasing interconnectedness among technologies, including those devoted to power management, there are more entryways for potential malicious activity that must be kept in check. Even HVAC systems can be susceptible if they’re not adequately protected.

Power management must be taken into consideration as IT teams evaluate their disaster avoidance and cybersecurity strategies. An integrated approach can help hospital IT teams safeguard against costly downtime while protecting critical assets and data.

An Integrated Power Management System

Because digital-friendly IT frameworks require a distributed network of systems — some of which don’t have onsite technicians available — healthcare IT staff must be especially strategic in managing and monitoring power management systems. Combining hardware devices with the right software and Network as a Service infrastructure can ensure they’re prepared from every angle.

An integrated power management system includes the range of devices needed to safeguard systems, from central IT functions to the proliferation of edge data center endpoints. Forming the core of a well-rounded strategy are uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) coupled with rack enclosure power distribution units (PDUs) to deliver critical backup power and a bridge to generator power to ensure critical IT functions continue running in the event of an outage.

MORE FROM HEALTHTECH: The pathway to powering and protecting your digital health strategy.

In the digital age, power management software and services are also important for system protection, giving IT staff the capability to oversee and maintain IT infrastructure without having a technician onsite at every location. By combining power management solutions with disaster avoidance software, IT teams can take a proactive approach to the remote management of critical infrastructure, mitigating power events before they result in major unplanned outages.  

From a cybersecurity standpoint, IT teams can take measures to ensure their backup power systems are secure with network management cards that are certified with UL 2900-1 and IEC 62443-4-2 functionalities to protect UPSs against potential hacks. When used with power management software, the network management cards allow for timely firmware updates that help IT teams stay ahead of evolving cybersecurity threats.

Improving physical security with solutions such as smart security locks on IT racks can round out a robust power management scheme. This will help to ensure that UPSs and other power management devices are safe and that only authorized personnel can gain entry.

Flexibility for a Changing Healthcare Security Landscape

As IT teams upgrade their power management and protection systems amid digital transformation, there are a number of new capabilities and solutions to consider for optimization. Choosing a lithium-ion UPS, for example, offers double the lifecycle compared with traditional valve-regulated lead-acid (VRLA) batteries that typically need to be replaced every three to five years. Adding predictive analytic services can also help IT teams anticipate the failure of critical components before it occurs.

Technology will continue to evolve as digital transformation advances, increasing reliance on IT interconnectedness and ushering in a wave of new virtual capabilities. Healthcare organizations should take heed of these developments and consider how they will impact power management requirements to ensure resiliency. While the landscape is moving fast, IT teams have the tools available to prepare for what’s to come.

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