Hacking and the modern hospital

A hospital without a managed backup provider is like a doctor without malpractice insurance.

Backup and recoveryAs if you need another reason to distrust medical automation Jeffery Gibson of Marshall, Minn. faces up to 10 years in prison for planting a logic bomb in a hospital's computer system. (Picture from Profitability.Net.)

What makes this especially scary is that Gibson was not a hospital employee. He was a contractor working on a staff-training system.

Rather than focusing on the harm, or the scare, I think there's a more important point to be made, for anyone dealing with medical computing systems.

Back-up.

Don't depend on the back-up procedures within your system, either. A hospital without a managed backup provider is like a doctor without malpractice insurance.

Chances are good your system vendor is going to bring one of these folks to the party when it comes time to sign a contract. If he doesn't you need another system vendor.

But even if he does, don't take his or her word for it. Large hard drive outfits like EMC are now entering this market. IBM just bought its way in. Google is said to be sniffing around the space.

You want to know that your systems are backed-up as they're used, not just once a day, and that they can get back online quickly. If you have a security vendor, this is something you want to be clear with them on.

Rather than becoming frightened and defensive when a computer crook is captured, and rather than just calling a cop, make certain you're ready.

There's nothing to fear from computing if you're prepared to deal with its risks.

Oh, and if you're a small medical clinic this applies to you, too. There are plenty of managed backup outfits which specialize in the small-to-medium business market, and probably one near you which specializes further, in the medical area.

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