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A Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing

Those of us who work in security operations are well accustomed to blind spots. Depending on the size of the network, our security technologies can trigger thousands of security alerts daily. We know from experience that the vast majority of these alerts are false-positives – innocuous activity that behaves a bit funny. But we also know that real threats are hiding in plain sight among the throng, finding safety in numbers. If threats are wolves in sheep’s clothing, false-positives are the sheep masquerading as wolves. How can we know the difference?

We can eliminate a sizable proportion of false-positives with reasonable certainty through investigation, but we struggle to cut this list down to a small number of confirmed threats, and we waste a lot of time chasing wild geese in the process. To hone in on confirmed threats, we need a better sieve for sifting through alerts. Advanced analytics and granular forensic technologies enable overburdened security operations personnel to separate the wheat from the chaff through high-fidelity threat investigation. Using advanced data analytics methodologies enables Cisco Active Threat Analytics investigators to weed out a huge proportion of false-positive alerts with great accuracy, and applying data enrichment and deep packet inspection tools in the threat investigation process equips us to validate confirmed threats quickly.  Read More »

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Active Threat Analytics: Easing the Burden of Threat Management

In Greek mythology, Sisyphus was a trickster king cursed with the eternal torment of fruitless labor. As punishment for his hubris and wile, Zeus condemned this hapless figure to the unending task of pushing a boulder up a mountain. Once he reached the top, the boulder would fall back down. And he would begin again. And again. Every day. Forever.

I suspect that it will not be a great imaginative leap for those of you in the in the information security industry to empathize with this unfortunate soul. Cyberattacks are continuously growing in frequency and sophistication. Threats are ever-present. New technologies and changing business models are always forcing you to change your tactics. Protecting your organization’s sensitive information seems like a Sisyphean undertaking: constant and unceasing.

I hear this from our customers all the time. IT security feels like an uphill battle, and the struggle to guard against ever-evolving threats seems interminable. As innovative social, mobile, analytics, cloud, robotics, and Internet of Everything (IoE) technologies transform every organization into a digital organization, the prospect of maintaining a strong security posture amid such rapid and widespread change can be daunting. We hear you, we get it, and we are ready to help. Just as Cisco is helping organizations become digital, we are also deeply committed to ensuring that security is the bedrock upon which the successful digital enterprises of the future will stand. For that to happen, organizations will need security solutions designed for the world of tomorrow. To help organizations transform securely, we have created Cisco Active Threat Analytics – a suite of next-generation managed security services that will help customers to detect threats in their environments with great speed, accuracy, and focus.

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Boosting the Patient Engagement Portal access Adoption curve

Meaningful use stage 2 sets the bar of 5% portal access for patient engagement and stage 3 raises the bar to 25%. What does it take to drive the adoption curve?

access-value-expThere are multiple factors that help the adoption curve to take off. The three key factors that are very important are:

   1. Access: The key question is what information and resources are made available for the patients?

   2. Value: The key question is based on the data that is made available, what is the value for the patients?

   3. Experience: The key question is how seamless experience does the patient have while accessing information and the experts?

While today, the primary focus is to increase access to information by providing a portal to your information system, it will be difficult for adoption to take off if value and experience are not focused on.

Enabling a portal to your information system is the starting point. Providing value added capabilities such as collaboration capabilities in your portal to communicate with your care teams increases the value for the patients. Once these capabilities are provided anytime, anywhere and on any device, with a seamless experience, patients will start using these systems. Enabling continuity of care from the hospital room to the patient’s home and enabling the data to be seamlessly available in the portal when the patient is discharged enables a higher experience. In the era of social media, a great experience leads to more influence with other patients and the adoption continues to grow.

Checkout the Cisco booth (#1301) to learn more about how Cisco is enabling access, value and experience leveraging its solutions at the American Telehealth Association (ATA) conference 2015 currently underway from May 3-5, 2015 in Los Angeles.

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ATA 2013 – Not All TeleHealth Markets Are Created Equal

Being able to participate at an American Telemedicine Association event in Austin, Texas has been a true highlight of 2013. The conference and its attendees were a-buzz with more remote monitoring devices than I knew existed, infinite possibilities to provide “care anywhere,” and a fantastic array of new connections in this growing facet of our industry. Thought-provoking conversations centered on convergence of healthcare and ICT, needs and opportunities for telehealth stakeholders, and telehealth’s impact on treatment and prevention.

ATA 2013 – Not All TeleHealth Markets Are Created Equal A common theme throughout the event was the current state of the industry and how connected health solutions are creating pathways to transform healthcare. This includes things such as workflow optimization, provider and patient engagement, and new application opportunities in the field of care. Telehealth has the power to impact both treatment and prevention in healthcare, which is crucial to shifting the burden of healthcare costs down, and the ability to improve outcomes.

During the event, I was privileged to take part in a Market Watch panel, “Not All Telehealth Markets are Equal,” hosted by Frost & Sullivan. This panel consisted of representatives from companies focused on remote monitoring, video telemedicine, mHealth, and home healthcare. We discussed key differences and similarities between these top market verticals concerning challenges, business models, and future growth.

Each of the panelists were asked several questions:

  1. What are the most innovative or transformative use examples of telehealth solutions you are seeing live in practice, which can impact change and outcomes?
  2. What restraints and challenges are people facing out in the market now especially in terms of realizing revenue growth and potential for telehealth solutions? Why will the future be different from the past?
  3. What are some best practices you have seen in getting patients engaged with mobile and telehealth solutions and actually driving behavioral change?
  4. Would you agree with our (Frost & Sullivan) view of the importance of video telemedicine in leading markets in telehealth, and what realized uptake is being seen in practice currently and what other factors are important to make this work?

Innovative telehealth use

There is a great deal of innovative  telehealth use, but one example I shared involved doctors recording patients’ visits (using Show ‘n Share) and sending a link of the recording to the patients after the fact so they can easily watch it again, and share with family and friends. This represents an innovative and different use of telehealth technology – it supports patients who are likely inundated with information during their visit and allows them to relive their consult remotely. 

Restraints and challenges

Telehealth now encompasses so many different channels patients want to use to interact with their healthcare system – telephone, mobile, social, email, text, web chat, etc. This means health care providers and payers must invest in the proper operational infrastructure to support these consumer connection expectations.  I gave the example of a patient with an illness, who wants to talk to a doctor remotely, and expects to be “seen” within 15 minutes. A payer or provider cannot expect to deliver that specific level of service unless they have a centralized infrastructure that is dedicated to operations. In order for this to be scalable, health systems will have to invest in elements such as contact center, unified communications, secure wireless infrastructures, and endpoints with solutions like Jabber and WebEx. These are just examples of some solutions that can be deployed in order to make telehealth work seamlessly to provide patients with the best remote care experience possible.

Best practices

Many panelists discussed gamification and how it is becoming a tool to engage consumers, as it ties to human nature, competitiveness and camaraderie. I discussed this from my personal standpoint. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a strategy that healthcare should deploy more because many health systems are being asked to think and act more like retailers in-nature. Healthcare systems need to take a page from companies who have to know their customers well and respond. This requires a strategic shift in how they approach and interact with patients and families, creating an infrastructure that would allow patients and family members or loved ones to communicate and interact with their care professionals via the communication method they choose. A sophisticated CRM strategy and eco-system is necessary to manage this.

Importance of video telemedicine

To drive home the importance of video in telehealth and the need for more efficiency in healthcare, I highlighted the model for primary care. I noted that primary care itself could be more remote and centralized at the same time. This could be a market differentiator for the health systems that deploy such a model, because the cost structure would be significantly reduced. A key technology component that supports this is a call manager feature combined with  remote video technology that looks at hundreds of doctors to determine who may be available at any given time. As telehealth and telemedicine technology begins to grow and be widely adopted, this will be even more important. In order for it to scale and cross organization boundaries, it must be interoperable with different devices and endpoints and be able to connect in any way possible.

One thing is for sure; telehealth cannot exist without the support and adoption of the clinical community.  The only way to ensure successful adoption of new technology is hand-in-hand implementation that’s tailored to the desired clinical workflow and to ensure that clinicians are championing it across the organization.

Learn more about ATA and the “Not All Telehealth Markets are Equal,” panel I participated in. And let me know any thoughts you have about my responses to the panel questions.

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Healthcare Industry in Transition

2012 a “Pivotal Year” for Healthcare Transformation, Says Shehata in ATA Preview.

This is the year Cisco healthcare technology moves from creating simple collaboration environments to true innovation workspaces that generate value, particularly for accountable care organizations (ACOs) focused on quality and efficiency, said Cisco’s Ash Shehata in an online briefing to industry thought leaders.
Shehata, Cisco’s Senior Executive Director, Healthcare Business Transformation for the US, Canada, and Latin America, addressed invited bloggers and web journalists in advance of the American Telemedicine Association conference April 29 in San Jose.
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