No More Downtime in Healthcare: Agile Java Security Policies

The world of healthcare and related technologies is incredibly fast-paced and the stakes are high. Downtime can lead to severe consequences, both to patient care and safety as well as to operational efficiency and data security. Continuity in uptime is not a luxury for security engineers in healthcare — it’s a necessity. 

The challenges healthcare security engineers face by implementing security patches and policies can be daunting. Fixing one problem can easily lead to more if it requires taking applications offline to make updates or implement changes. 

Luckily, Waratek’s Java security platform addresses these issues by enabling the seamless implementation and withdrawal of security policies without any disruptions. This means security can be updated or modified in response to emerging threats or vulnerabilities without causing system downtime, which is crucial in healthcare environments where continuous access to medical records and systems is vital.

Downtime Has Major Consequences in Healthcare

Data privacy is a massive priority for any organization that handles medical records. These records are considered to be of the utmost value by both healthcare shareholders and attackers. This is because medical records are protected by HIPAA laws and failure to adequately protect this data can come with major legal penalties. HIPAA regulations require continuous and secure access to certain types of data. Downtime can result in non-compliance with these regulations, leading to legal issues and penalties.

Meanwhile, in a system where rigid security policies can only be altered by taking applications offline, it’s easy for any small security failure to snowball. When systems are down, particularly during updates or maintenance, they can become more vulnerable to attacks. If an attacker gains access during such periods, they can potentially exploit weaker security controls, leading to unauthorized access or data breaches. This can have serious implications, especially if sensitive health information is exposed, further complicating compliance issues.

Why Is It So Difficult to Implement Changes?

Healthcare security engineers often grapple with rigid, non-adaptive security policies that fail to align with real-time operational needs of healthcare environments. These policies, designed with a one-size-fits-all approach, can’t keep pace with the dynamic nature of healthcare operations. Healthcare IT environments are diverse, featuring a multitude of platforms, applications, and technologies. Managing security across this intricate landscape is a daunting task, exacerbated by the inflexibility of many security policies. Non-adaptive measures may not cater to the unique requirements of each platform, leading to vulnerabilities and potential security gaps that adversaries could exploit.

The rigidity of non-adaptive policies might require a complete system shutdown for implementation, disrupting critical operations such as patient admissions, prescription processing, and laboratory services. Such disruptions can affect patient care and compromise the security of sensitive health information.

Downtime for security implementation exacts a toll on operational efficiency within healthcare settings. Increased workload and stress on healthcare security engineers during these periods can contribute to errors, delays, and heightened pressure. Patient care can be compromised, and the overall efficiency of healthcare services could suffer.

How to Avoid Downtime Headaches 

Healthcare security engineers need security policies that are adaptive, allowing for real-time adjustments without resorting to disruptive downtimes. Increasing flexibility in security measures allows engineers to align their protocols with the evolving needs of healthcare operations. Waratek implements Java security policies that remain immutable for the entire lifecycle of an application. This platform consists of two main components: a Domain-Specific Language (DSL) for scripting runtime security policies and enhancements, and an implementation engine that interprets these scripts. 

This approach allows for the dynamic application and updating of security rules without causing system downtime. This means that compliance-related security measures can be maintained and adjusted in real-time, reducing the risk of non-compliance due to downtime. Moreover, if an invalid Waratek Rule exists, an error message is logged, which aids in compliance monitoring by ensuring that all security rules are correctly implemented and functioning as intended​​. In many cases, the performance actually improves due to running correct code, never hindering overall application response time.

What’s more, when policies need to be changed, engineers can easily use the Waratek Rules Wizard to deactivate these policies or deploy new policies as needed. Accessible from anywhere with an internet connection, the Waratek Portal simplifies the management of security policies. Healthcare security teams can triage alerts and efficiently manage connected applications, all without the need for complex setups or extensive downtimes. These rules are written directly into the application’s source code. They are airtight for as long as engineers need them to be active, and they can be swapped out instantaneously according to the needs of the organization. This means they require no downtime to alter, and attackers have no window to gain a foothold in the application in between security postures. 

Possessing the ability to Implement security policies on the fly is crucial in the modern landscape of healthcare security. The absence of downtime, coupled with the flexibility to adapt to real-time operational needs, makes Waratek a no-brainer for healthcare DevOps teams.

Click to get started leveraging frictionless security implementations to eliminate downtime in healthcare immediately. 

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