How to Shorten Mean Time to Respond/Remediate & Patient Safety

By Chris Bowen, ClearDATA Founder and Chief Information & Security Officer (CISO)

Picture this: You oversee cybersecurity at a bustling healthcare organization. Every day, you are on the frontlines, protecting patient data from potential threats. But what happens when a cyberattack slips through the cracks? Panic sets in, and the systems you have in place to protect and secure patient safety are suddenly exposed and completely at risk. It is vital to immediately respond and remediate the threat.

How Mean Time to Respond/Remediate (MTTR) comes into play

I recently joined the panel discussion “Keys to Minimizing Threat Alert to Remediation Time” together with healthsystemCIO and fellow panelists Kim Alkire, System Director at Cyber Wellness (acting CISO) at Health First, and Adam Zoller, CISO at Providence.

In this discussion, we stressed the importance of Mean Time to Respond/Remediate (MTTR), a critical metric in the fight against cyber threats. It is the average time it takes to fix a cybersecurity issue once it’s been detected. The average time to remediate critical cybersecurity vulnerabilities in healthcare can vary widely depending on several factors, such as the nature of the vulnerability, the complexity of the healthcare organization’s IT infrastructure, the availability of resources, and the effectiveness of the organization’s cybersecurity practices.

Why do we care about MTTR and how does it relate to patient safety?

For starters, a cyberattack can wreak havoc on patient safety by disrupting hospital operations. If doctors can’t access patient records due to a ransomware attack and are left in the dark, then they are unable to provide the care their patients need. Additionally, corrupted or altered medical records only further jeopardize patient safety and treatment.  

The longer it takes to resolve the issue, the greater the risk to patient safety.

Therefore, healthcare organizations need to aim for a shorter MTTR. By resolving issues quickly, they minimize disruptions to their services and protect PHI.

But how do healthcare organizations achieve a shorter MTTR?

To shorten the Mean Time to Respond/Remediate (MTTR) in healthcare, providers need to invest in advanced cybersecurity tools. The sooner a threat is identified, the quicker it can be neutralized. Second, they should conduct regular cybersecurity training for their staff to ensure everyone knows how to respond to potential threats.

In addition to investing in advanced cybersecurity tools, they must hire experts with the skills to deploy and operationalize them effectively. It’s also vital to foster a culture of continuous improvement. Relying on reducing MTTR alone is insufficient. I urge CISOs to regularly review their cybersecurity protocols based on the latest best practices and threat intelligence and to evaluate whether there is an opportunity to partner with a highly skilled and specialized cloud cybersecurity vendor.

By prioritizing a shorter MTTR, healthcare organizations can protect patient data, maintain operational efficiency, and ensure patient safety. So, if you oversee cybersecurity at a healthcare organization, it’s time to step up your game and make MTTR a top priority. MTTR reflects a healthcare organization’s commitment to safe and quality patient care.

If nothing else, remember: 1) Massive technological investments are futile if you don’t invest in the expertise to operationalize them, and 2) The faster you resolve a cybersecurity threat, the safer you keep your patients.

Watch our full healthsystemCIO Mean Time to Remediation webinar replay for more insights from our full panel of cloud security experts.

Ready to remediate healthcare cloud security threats faster than ever? Talk with our healthcare cloud security experts.

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