When it comes to deploying a wireless network, a hospital needs to have the best of both worlds when it comes to hardware and software. Having one without the other simply doesn’t work; it’s almost like owning a new sports car and not filling it up with gas. One needs the other so that you can get where you want to be.

For Sentara Healthcare, a medical group with 300-plus care sites, they found that by choosing Cisco Digital Network Architecture (DNA), it was able to marry a high-tech hardware solution with cutting-edge software. Their new wireless deployment started off with outfitting their buildings with the Cisco Aironet 2700 and 3700 Series Access Points.

For the healthcare group, a robust network is a necessity due to the number of medical devices that need to be connected to the network. From infusion pumps to patient monitoring systems to even doctor’s notes made on tablets, if these access points can’t handle the amount of data being transferred; the entire system stops working. Luckily for Sentara, Cisco is more than up to the challenge.

Sentara Director of Information Security, Chad Spiers said, “By its very nature, [connected devices] widens the threat surface area and introduces new back door vulnerabilities.”

What he means is that security is an imperative, which is another area of expertise that Cisco DNA possesses. Cisco DNA is founded on Cisco hardware—like the Cisco Aironet Access Points—and allows hospital campuses and remote sites to collaborate safely and act as a single entity.

Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) has simplified access control. It checks to make sure that users and their devices are safe to connect to wired, wireless and remote connections. The Sentara IT team is able to designate network access to guests, patients, administrators and medical staff across multiple campuses from one single console. IT administrators are able to create special permissions for each user group. For example, a hospital visitor cn access the network so that he or she can use their mobile device, but they will not be able to view sensitive medical records.

Sentara went a step farther by using ISE and Cisco Stealthwatch to turn the network into a security sensor and informer. This allows the network to uncover attacks that are happening, quarantine them and ultimately repair them. This is as a must for any hospital.

To read the entire case study, click here.


Byron Magrane

Product Manager, Marketing