Healthy networks

The hospitality and healthcare sectors are experiencing tremendous growth in the Middle East. With that growth comes an increasing amount of confidential information that needs to be secured and protected.

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By  Sean Robson Published  April 19, 2009

The hospitality and healthcare sectors are experiencing tremendous growth in the Middle East. With that growth comes an increasing amount of confidential information that needs to be secured and protected.

Among the region’s fastest growing verticals are the healthcare and hospitality sectors. As these sectors continue their upward swing, more and more information is being created, particularly about patients and guests, which is not only valuable but also frequently of a confidential nature. It is up to the region’s IT professionals and vendors to provide the safe and secure environments users expect and demand.

“The valuable data and information assets related to patients, medical research and intellectual properties are making it necessary for healthcare organisations to be on guard and apply the principle of control, confidentiality, integrity and accountability,” explains Harish Chib, vice president of new business development at Cyberoam.

“I think that there are two specific aspects of data security that hospitality and healthcare are looking at. One is the traditional security when securing access from outsiders into the internal network through traditional securities like firewalls, access prevention, anti-virus and anti-spam,” says Judhi Prasetyo regional channel manager, Fortinet Middle East.

“The second one is from a compliance and data leakage and data theft perspective. There needs to be a lot more done in the second aspect which is dealing with data leakage and information prevention,” Prasetyo continues.

Up to now

Security in the healthcare and hospitality industries has been undergoing a steady evolution in recent times, as data that was previously not collected or held in hard copy format only, has been transferred to electronic form. Many enterprises though continue to protect themselves through traditional technologies but the rapid escalation of the demands made by regulation and compliance is changing that.

The valuable data and information assets related to the patients, medical research and intellectual properties are making it necessary for healthcare organisations to be on constant guard and apply the principle of control, confidentiality, integrity and accountability.

Greg Day, security analyst EMEA for McAfee has seen the emphasis begin with technology and the subsequent shift in understanding around security. “Technology can be used in every area, from critical to trivial, and in each instance, it is essential that there is an understanding of how and why it is being used, what the potential threats are and what they would mean in terms of business impact. Over the course of the last few years, we have seen a growing focus on understanding and managing the data being collected, stored and shared.”

According to Bulent Tescoz, security expert at Symantec, just a few years ago the prevailing wisdom was that having a firewall at the perimeter was good enough but the focus has since moved towards end-point solutions and building on the standard technologies.

“The industries now realise that having an anti-virus solution is not enough because they acknowledge that this is actually a reactive way of doing this. The healthcare industry is a business today; in the region network access control (NAC) is a hot topic right now with industry standards also becoming more important,” elaborated Tescoz.

Many end-users still rely on the best available technology while making a pre-emptive move to reach international standards of compliance. “We have strict access list on router level, secure anti-virus as well as restricted USB access. We are in compliance with the highest EU standards of communication and data privacy,” points out Dinto Joseph, IT Manager at the Radisson SAS Hotel, Dubai Media City.

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