How to Choose a Security Incident and Event Management (SIEM) Platform
The growing prevalence of interconnected medical devices in hospitals and the ever-increasing flow of digital information across the healthcare industry greatly benefit patients, clinicians, and other health workers. Emerging and existing technologies expand how providers can ease suffering, improve diagnosis, treatment, and research, and support workers in performing their duties across the healthcare ecosystem.
With these extraordinary benefits comes an unfortunate downside. The rapid adoption of connected, digitized solutions has encouraged threat actors to focus on the healthcare sector, exploiting a burgeoning attack surface with their own technical savvy and innovation. The escalation of cyber threats puts patient health, data privacy, and hospital operations at serious risk.
According to a 2022 report by IBM, the healthcare industry's average data breach cost has been higher than any other industry for the last 12 years. Furthermore, the report found that healthcare industry breach costs have increased by 42% since 2020.
A security incident and event manager (SIEM) system can help healthcare organizations secure a broader attack surface, stay ahead of threats, and automate compliance. Next-generation SIEM platforms include AI and automation tools, significantly benefiting hospitals and healthcare systems.
If you want to upgrade an organization's existing SIEM or investigate options for integrating SIEM into the current cybersecurity stack, this post will help get you started. Read on to learn more about SIEM and its applications in the healthcare industry.
What is SIEM?
SIEM is a software solution that provides a comprehensive, real-time view of an organization's information security. SIEM platforms boost awareness and provide data analysis so organizations can respond quickly to potential threats and maintain security compliance requirements.
The primary capabilities of SIEM are:
- Data aggregation from multiple sources
- Analytical threat detection
- Real-time threat alerts and reporting
- Compliance assessment and reporting
SIEM platforms use real-time visibility to level up threat prevention and response time should a breach occur.
How does SIEM work?
Early SIEM technology has evolved considerably over its almost 20-year history. Traditional and next-generation SIEM have the same fundamental goal: to provide visibility and analysis to secure an IT environment. However, newer SIEM systems are designed for modern cybersecurity, so their construction differs from legacy platforms.
Understanding traditional SIEM
Traditional SIEM systems collect and index log data from an organization's devices and applications. These older platforms have simple dashboards with limited customizability, so searching for data regarding suspicious activity can yield thousands of line items. Because of this, it was necessary for an IT professional with specialized expertise to analyze the data and uncover relevant information. This need wasn't a big problem when SIEM was introduced, as hospitals used far fewer devices back then, and healthcare cyberattacks were nearly nonexistent.
However, in 2023, connected devices such as smart infusion pumps and telemetry monitors are now ubiquitous in hospitals, and vast networks of clinical devices and software platforms have 24-hour integration with EHR. The volume of data generated by the modern hospital ecosystem has outgrown legacy SIEM systems. They also weren't designed to cover a continually evolving attack surface of this magnitude.
Next-gen SIEM that leverages AI
Next-gen SIEM models have a complex architecture that can rapidly process and analyze large amounts of data. These models leverage AI and machine learning to detect abnormal behavior in a medical device or application that could indicate the presence of an attack. Next-gen platforms can also identify markers of specific types of cyberattacks (malware, insider attack, etc.).
What are the benefits of upgrading your SIEM platform?
Advantages of next-gen SIEM include:
- Comprehensive infrastructure integration, including cloud, network, and onsite assets
- Sophisticated dashboard with real-time visualization tools
- Scenario and behavioral analytics trained on threat models based on specialized intelligence
- Customizable workflows accommodate organizational use cases
- Integrated regulatory compliance assessments
Deploying an AI-powered SIEM platform to automate threat detection could save your organization money in the event of a breach. In 2022, breaches cost $3.05 million less for organizations using AI and automation than organizations not equipped with those tools.
Which SIEM platform is best for healthcare organizations?
Choosing a SIEM platform depends on the individual needs of the hospital or health system, but there are certain features that large healthcare providers should consider, such as:
HIPAA and HITECH capabilities
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health ACT (HITECH) contain hefty regulatory and reporting requirements. Non-compliance can result in significant fines and disastrous repercussions should a breach lead to an attack.
SIEM models with a HIPAA-specific use case library can generate targeted risk data for protected health information and automatically display it via dashboards and reports.
All-in-one, out-of-the-box solutions
Because healthcare organizations can be such data-complex environments, an all-in-one platform is often the ideal solution. All-in-one platforms are designed for fast deployment and easy integration with various onsite devices and cloud applications. They include out-of-the-box analysis of various security data sources, such as networks, end-users, malware, payload analysis, asset management systems, threat intelligence, and other input streams.
Cloud SIEM solutions
Cloud-based SIEM platforms can offer healthcare organizations enhanced coverage via a hybrid architecture, simplified configuration, instantly scalable infrastructure, automatic software updates, and advanced controls.
Different SIEM platforms offer a range of unique features healthcare providers may wish to consider, such as:
- Automated responses and alerts
- Data querying functions
- Network forensics
- EHR integration capabilities
Some platforms may offer these features as customizable options that can be tailored to the organization's needs.
The bottom line
Given the costs associated with a breach, investing in new security technology is well worth the money. The good news is that flexible pricing choices are out there.
In the past, traditional SIEM was dominated by capacity-based pricing, which for some customers, was cost-prohibitive. Fortunately, with next-gen SIEM comes some next-gen pricing options. Ask vendors about fixed-rate licensing options, unlimited data plans, and current consumption-based rates.