If you are directing the implementation of a BYOD initiative for your healthcare organization, here are 7 Steps to Preventing Disaster and when it’s time to “go live”.
1. Wipe Your Devices, then Your Forehead
When implementing or upgrading a BYOD program, make sure any device that is allowed on your wireless network at a healthcare facility is able to be remotely wiped of sensitive data. Then, you might not even have to wipe the sweat off your forehead, since you’ll know the data is less likely to fall into the wrong hands. Develop a process for when an employee’s device has been lost or stolen. One option might be to have an auto-wipe of certain apps after a certain number of failed login attempts. Obviously with HIPAA, healthcare organizations need to keep sensitive information like patient records secure. Make sure your users understand the process and policy for lost and stolen devices.
2. Keep up with the Changes
Technology evolves daily, from the devices that are being used to applications running on them to the speed at which the wireless devices are connecting. You should make sure your hospital is continuing to monitor which devices, wireless access solutions and operating system versions are currently running and available for use. You need to make sure the mobile devices you are allowing are equipped with the features you require for use on the hospital wireless network.
3. Users Must Agree to Policy
You know those annoying updates you get from various software running on your devices that ask you to review and agree to their new user policy? Yeah, attorneys are out there making lots of money figuring out the loopholes and developers are constantly in “CYA” mode trying to close those loopholes in the language. Creating and updating a well-planned BYOD policy that covers any possible issues and questions is necessary for any BYOD implementation. Is it easy? No. Is it a must? Yes. You want to ensure your employees fully understand and constantly comply with your hospital’s evolving BYOD policy. Include as many details as possible regarding regulations, security, and expectations of everyone that will be using the wireless network.
4. Simplify with Centralized Management
For deploying widespread wireless access that will support BYOD, hospitals require a WLAN that’s easy to manage and configure, even across multiple locations, from one central location (i.e., corporate headquarters). For greater efficiency, you’ll also need a solution that can scale and be easily added to your management tools. To do this, we might suggest a system that is centrally managed so that all of your wireless security, configuration and settings are in one place and can be “pushed” to your remote WLAN’s. Any of today’s IT staff will appreciate the end-to-end visibility and centralized control to manage the mobile users that are connected to the network.
5. Regulate Apps
Healthcare organizations are always under strict regulations, you’re dealing with people’s lives. When it comes to applications that run on wireless devices, there should also be additional regulations. Currently more than 20,000 health-related applications are available in the mobile marketplace, and that number continues to grow across all operating systems. Hospitals should use next-generation firewalls with application visibility, like what you’ll be able to find with Palo Alto Networks. With these advanced firewall solutions, companies can now control application traffic in a manner that helps stay in compliance with state and federal regulations.
6. Determine Duties
Strong consideration should be given to how your IT infrastructure is currently set up. Most organizations will use something like Active Directory to divide users into different categories with concrete network permission levels. A healthcare facility administrator or executive might be given a role in the system that allows them deeper access into the internal network than would be given, say even a doctor or nurse. It’s important to segment groups of users and find solutions that can integrate those roles in a wireless solution.
7. Dig a Little Deeper
We are not referring to your pocketbook here, we understand that budgets are limited and the recommendations we make usually start with that in mind. By digging deeper, we’re referring to the physical appliances that make up internal network and looking into those items being replaced first. It doesn’t do any good to buy new 802.11ac access points for extremely fast wireless connectivity if the switches are not going to support that speed. Seems like common sense, but it takes more than just magic to implement a BYOD program that is considered a success - our goal is to help you avoid failure when tasked with a project of this magnitude. A little smaller than what the United States government just tried, but we all have to make our superiors satisfied!
If you need help on where to start with your BYOD implementation we are here to help. We are experts on mobility in hospitals and can help you through any and every stage of the process for bringing BYOD to your hospital wireless network. Just contact us here with any questions or for a free BYOD readiness consultation. Our goal is to be a resource to you!