As a customer success manager, I had the pleasure of working with Frederick Health, a leading healthcare provider in Frederick County, Maryland. They’ve been on the cutting-edge when it comes to technology, but the recent opening of new locations and the shift towards an increasingly distributed workforce demanded a better approach to healthcare cybersecurity.
Healthcare cybersecurity: A tricky environment
Healthcare providers are subject to strict regulations and compliance mandates, but they need to securely support workers who increasingly connect digitally across locations. How do you make sure the right people have access to necessary information, all while keeping bad actors out? Frederick Health needed granular controls to manage and secure users, no matter where they’re located. There was a lot at stake, so getting to a security solution tailored for healthcare was critical. In order to meet that need, we partnered with the customer to provide a strong and customized healthcare cybersecurity deployment plan. In my experience, one of the keys to our success was agreeing to meet on a weekly basis to review their progress.
To support the organization’s move to direct internet access (DIA), Frederick Health turned to Cisco to provide a secure access service edge (SASE) architecture and replaced their previous on-prem proxy solution with Cisco Umbrella. One of my favorite comments from the customer was when he was speaking directly to their investment in Umbrella. “We looked at the holistic Cisco portfolio today and where Cisco was going in terms of security, particularly its secure web gateway and cloud-delivered firewall functionality. It became clear that Umbrella was the right product for us,” a senior network engineer at Frederick Health says.
A spectrum of remarkable cybersecurity results for this healthcare provider
Frederick Health gained the ability to secure the DIA breakouts with a full proxy and protect internet activity regardless of location – from headquarters and branch offices to roaming devices. By efficiently logging, inspecting, and controlling web traffic – as well as blocking risky applications and user behavior – Frederick Health can better mitigate compliance and privacy risks.
With Cisco Umbrella, Frederick Health cut alerts by at least half – freeing them up to focus on more sophisticated threats. “After we deployed Umbrella, we noticed a dramatic reduction in alerts on our other security solutions – by 50% or more. Ever since we implemented Umbrella, threats aren’t getting through anymore,” the senior network engineer notes.
In addition to safeguarding patient data and addressing the complex access needs of a distributed workforce, Frederick Health realized these healthcare cybersecurity benefits:
- Granular visibility and access controls for applications with Layer 7 firewall
- Secure internet activity from any location through a secure web gateway with full proxy for all traffic
- Comprehensive management of policies and access rights
- Aggregated data and threat intelligence across multiple security tools into a single console
As we reviewed the various deployment methods, the team liked that they could leverage their existing investment in Cisco AnyConnect to send their traffic to the secure web gateway. AnyConnect allows them to enable full proxy for all traffic and also protect roaming users. But they also found it easier to manage when creating new web policies. “Umbrella’s SWG rule-based policies provide that granularity that we were always looking for. After initial setup, it’s very easy to manage them. And we only need two, maybe three policies to control our environment. It is impressive that a single ruleset can give you so much flexibility,” a Frederick Health IT security analyst shares.
Cisco Umbrella customers can now make simple policy exceptions for users by adding a single rule, rather than having to create a whole new policy to do so. It also gives administrators specific control of the order of enforcement just by reordering rules, allowing them to get exactly the enforcement behavior they desire.
For Frederick Health, Cisco Umbrella’s cloud-delivered firewall brought new capabilities that they didn’t have previously: “The Layer 7 app control – the ability to control each application individually – is amazing functionality. We could not do this before we implemented Umbrella,” he says. Cisco Umbrella’s cloud-delivered firewall provides visibility and control for outbound internet traffic across all ports and protocols. “We also use Umbrella’s in-line DLP inspection and blocking capabilities to identify sensitive data uploads and protect our sensitive data.”
“If you think about securing your house from a burglar, you want to stop them before they even enter your home. Most of the other competing secure web gateways let threats get into the network and then fight them inside. Cisco Umbrella stops the threats before they even get in,” he says. “You can’t ask for anything better than that.”
Here’s a rundown of the healthcare cybersecurity solutions Frederick Health deployed:
With its secure web gateway, cloud-delivered firewall, and integration capabilities with other solutions, Umbrella makes managing polices, granting access, and blocking unwanted traffic easier – giving Frederick Health the flexibility and visibility it needs. Umbrella’s cloud-delivered firewall also provides Layer 7 app control, a functionality that allows each app to be controlled individually.
The cloud-native SecureX platform automatically aggregates data and threat intelligence from multiple security tools into a single console to accelerate investigations.
Cisco Secure Email
Integrated into SecureX, Secure Email stops the most common and damaging cyber threats. As Frederick Health staff and patients often communicate via cloud-based email, they now get the same comprehensive protection they would if they were on prem. Plus, built-in encryption safeguards sensitive data and helps them stay in compliance
AnyConnect gives Frederick Health’s remote workers highly secure access to the network, wherever they are, on any device – across wired, wireless, and VPN connections. It provides the visibility and control needed to identify who and which devices are accessing the extended enterprise, via a wide range of security services such as remote access, posture enforcement, web security features, and roaming protection.
Where to go next
Helping our customers be successful is part of our DNA. Learn more about Cisco Umbrella’s secure web gateway here.