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Cisco ACI adds New Security and Application Delivery Vendors to Ecosystem: A10 Networks and Catbird

February 3, 2014 at 4:00 am PST

Cisco announced last week that its rapidly expanding ACI ecosystem now includes the A10 Networks aCloud Services Architecture based on the Thunder ADC Application Delivery Controllers, as well as the Catbird IDS/IPS virtual security solutions. These new ACI ecosystem vendors are announcing support for the ACI policy model and integration with the Application Infrastructure Policy Controller (APIC) which will accelerate and automate deployment and provisioning of these services into application networks. This should also resolve any speculation that the ACI ecosystem would not be including technology vendors that compete with Cisco’s other lines of business, as Cisco expands the solution alternatives for customers.

Each of the solutions will rely on two primary capabilities of the APIC and ACI to provide a policy-based automation framework and policy-based service insertion technology. A policy-based automation framework enables resources to be dynamically provisioned and configured according to application requirements. As a result, core services such as firewalls, application delivery controllers (ADC) and Layer 4 through 7 switches can be consumed by applications and made ready to use in a single automated step.

A policy-based service insertion solution automates the step of routing network traffic to the correct services based on application policies. The automated addition, removal, and reordering of services allows applications to quickly change the resources that they require without the need to rewire and reconfigure the network or relocate the services. For example, if the business decision is made to use a web application firewall found in a modern ADC as a cost-effective way of achieving PCI compliance, administrators would simply need to redefine the policy for the services that should be used for the related applications. The Cisco APIC can dynamically distribute new policies to the infrastructure and service nodes in minutes, without requiring the network be manually changed.

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9 of 9 HIPAA Network Considerations

The HIPAA Omnibus Final Rule is now in effect and audits will continue in 2014. The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights has stated several times that both Covered Entities and Business Associates will be audited.  And the scope of Business Associates has greatly expanded.  I wrote another blog directed towards these new Business Associates.  This final blog of this series focuses on covered entities that work with business associates.

  1. HIPAA Audits will continue
  2. The HIPAA Audit Protocol and NIST 800-66 are your best preparation
  3. Knowledge is a powerful weapon―know where your PHI is
  4. Ignorance is not bliss
  5. Risk Assessment drives your baseline
  6. Risk Management is continuous
  7. Security best practices are essential
  8. Breach discovery times: know your discovery tolerance
  9. Your business associate(s)must be tracked

The HIPAA Omnibus Final Rule changed the Business Associate definition, and also makes Business Associates obligated to comply with HIPAA.  You most likely will have more business associates than previously, and those business associates that have access to your network and/or your PHI data are obligated to be HIPAA compliant.    The Ponemon Institute’s Third Annual Benchmark Study on Patient Privacy and Data Security (December 2012), reveals that 42% of the breaches involved a third party “snafu”.

blog9

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8 of 9 HIPAA Network Considerations

Discovering a breach where ePHI has been stolen certainly falls into the ‘not a good day at work’ category.  It can be catastrophic for some, especially if the compromise occurred months ago and wasn’t detected.  Or if a 3rd party discovered the breach for you, which occurs more often than we think, 47-51% from 2010 – 2012 based on the Ponemon Institutes 3rd Annual Benchmark Study on Patent Privacy and Data Security.

On our list of 9 HIPAA Network Considerations, we are onto topic #8, Breach discovery times: know your discovery tolerance.

  1. HIPAA Audits will continue
  2. The HIPAA Audit Protocol and NIST 800-66 are your best preparation
  3. Knowledge is a powerful weapon―know where your PHI is
  4. Ignorance is not bliss
  5. Risk Assessment drives your baseline
  6. Risk Management is continuous
  7. Security best practices are essential
  8. Breach discovery times: know your discovery tolerance
  9. Your business associate(s)must be tracked

From the 2013 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, two thirds of the compromises were not discovered for months, or longer.  What is your tolerance for “not knowing?”  Can that discovery time tolerance be justified through reasonable due diligence, or are you back at the “ignorance is bliss” phase (blog #4), which could be interpreted as Willful Neglect in the case of a breach of PHI?

Source: Verizon 2013 Data Breach Investigations Report

Source: Verizon 2013 Data Breach Investigations Report

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7 of 9 HIPAA Network Considerations

The HIPAA Omnibus Final Rule is now in effect and audits will continue in 2014. At the HIMSS Privacy and Security Forum in Boston on Sept. 23, Leon Rodriguez, director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights said to those who are wondering how the new rule will be enforced: “You’ll see a picture of where we’ll spend our energies” based on previous enforcement actions.  Enforcement actions to date have focused on cases involving major security failures, where a breach incident led to investigations that revealed larger systemic issues, Rodriguez said.

On our list of 9 HIPAA Network Considerations, it is timely that our topic in this blog is on #7, Security best practices are essential.

  1. HIPAA Audits will continue
  2. The HIPAA Audit Protocol and NIST 800-66 are your best preparation
  3. Knowledge is a powerful weapon―know where your PHI is
  4. Ignorance is not bliss
  5. Risk Assessment drives your baseline
  6. Risk Management is continuous
  7. Security best practices are essential
  8. Breach discovery times: know your discovery tolerance
  9. Your business associate(s)must be tracked

The general rule for the HIPAA Security Rule is to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of ePHI that is created, received, maintained, or transmitted [45 CFR 164.306(a)].  Protect against threats to PHI.  That relates directly to network security best practices.  In the 2012 HIPAA audits, security had more than its share of findings and observations, accounting for 60% of the HIPAA audit findings and observations, even though the Security Rule accounted for only 28% of the audit questions.  At the NIST OCR Conference in May, OCR presented the summary below.

7 of 9

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What Moving to the Cloud Means for Healthcare Organizations

This marks the 32nd year I’ve worked in healthcare. It doesn’t seem like very long ago that I worked as a registered nurse, caring for critically ill patients. Although I’m no longer working at a patient’s bedside, today’s healthcare organizations continue to put patient care first -- starting with transformation in healthcare technology.

HealthcareDue to increased digitization of patient data and increased collaboration among insurance providers and doctors, IT innovation and integration in healthcare is on the rise.  A new survey from Black Book shows that economic factors and government regulations are beginning to nudge independent physician practices to the cloud.

As more move to the cloud, the recent package of HIPAA changes known as the “final omnibus rule” clarifies the legal framework for healthcare organizations to work with cloud services, as David F. Carr highlighted in his recent article in Information Week.

This is a fundamental shift for healthcare organizations that could set precedent for other industries like education, financial services and government. Are you ready for it? Read More »

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