What are IoT devices in healthcare?  In my experience talking with customers, I don’t believe I’ve ever received the same answer twice. Most often, they call out patient home monitoring devices and consumer-grade fitness trackers. But to me, an IoT device is anything that you connect to the network. And in healthcare, we are certainly connecting more and more devices to the network, adding more virtually everyday.

If you agree on a definition of IoT, the question then becomes, how do you secure those devices against the ever-growing threat landscape? And not only secure them from improper external access, but also contain the damage and control lateral movement if the device is indeed compromised? Well, since most IoT healthcare devices have very limited out-of-the-box protection, an additional security solution is needed.

Enter IoT Threat Defense.

This week at Cisco Live US, we officially launched Cisco IoT Threat Defense.  Cisco IoT Threat Defense does many things to enhance your IoT medical device security.  First, the secure and automatic policy based segmentation provides an adaptable, extensible means of protecting vital services at IoT scale. Segmentation helps to control inbound access and outbound permissions for these devices and also prevents these devices, if compromised, from being used as pivot points for attackers to move laterally through the network.

But before you can properly segment your network, you need to know the existing traffic flow and you need to identify connected devices automatically based on their traffic pattern. You also need to identify the end users and then their user profile which includes location of access, time of access, what the user is trying to access, and from what type of device they are accessing it from. As I’m sure you know, this is quite an intricate undertaking, especially when you’re a healthcare provider with countless medical devices and clinicians. IoT Threat Defense addresses this complex profiling challenge with a combination of ISE, Medical NAC, and Stealthwatch.

And to further complicate things, you also have dozens of device vendors continually accessing their equipment remotely. They provide ongoing maintenance and monitoring the proper operation of these devices to ensure optimized patient care.  Since you need to provide secure access with integrated profiling and malware prevention, we have included Cisco AnyConnect in Cisco IoT Threat Defense.

We know this IoT security an exponentially complex challenge, and to assist with this, Cisco Advanced Services programs are available. Our experts can help your organization prepare, plan, design, and optimize your network and IoT security.

Learn more about Cisco IoT Defense here.


Jason Mortensen

Global Healthcare Solutions Portfolio Manager

Digital Transformation Group