This shift from paper based on electronic record keeping is very well informed. Adopting wireless and mobile technology will improve the doctors and nurses’ efficiency and lessen their workload. However, this technology comes with a number of challenges and risks (Kim, 2010). Some of these risks affect the patients’ wellbeing. This makes mitigation of these risks a priority. Here is a detailed report on the risks involved in this shift and recommendations on how to mitigate them.
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Wireless networks in this case can be used with such handheld devices like PDA phones, PDAs, handheld PCs, laptops, and tablets. The first risk that is specific to wireless technology is infiltration of an access point. If the access point of a wireless network is left unsecured, unauthorized people can gain access to the network’s resources. This can in turn pose a risk to the integrity and confidentiality of patients’ information.
Wireless devices that are not secured increase the chances of a hacking. If a hacker accesses a wireless device, it makes it easy for him/her to gain entry into the network’s resources using an unsecured interface. In addition, unsecured devices are susceptible to MAC flooding attacks (Alexander, 2009). These kinds of attacks affect the network’s performance. Wireless networks also come with the risk of jamming.
This occurs when there are other wireless networks operating within the same area. Overlapping frequencies are the main cause of jamming wireless networks. Hand held devices come with the risk of man in the middle attacks. This happens when an attacker forces another device between an end device and the access point.
This attacker can then be able to access the network resources. This is because the attacker records every transaction done by the end device through the network. Wireless networks use authentication methods that can be compromised. The WEP keys that are used by most wireless networks can be compromised through monitoring or sniffing attacks. When this happens, the encrypted data sent through the network can be decrypted.
Each of the above problems can be mitigated using several measures. The first measure involves putting in place an efficient user authentication method. Several internet security standards recommend different authentication methods. Any of these methods can be used depending on the required security level. Another way of minimizing security risks is using higher-level protocols to secure network resources.
An example of such is the virtual private network protocol. Avoiding unnecessary coverage of a wireless network minimizes the risk of intrusion. Wireless networks that can be detected away from their intended range can easily fall prey to attackers. All ‘hardware devices should be properly secured limiting their accessibility only to a network administrator.
The office in this case consists of three doctors and two nurses. Its location is in the midst of other offices. Therefore, it is recommended that an extensive site survey be conducted before deploying the wireless network. This will make sure all sources of interference are discovered beforehand because they may later affect a network’s performance. They should also make sure that all the equipment used for the wireless network is within their jurisdiction.
This reduces the chances of attacks instigated through hardware access. The doctors should also make sure that the type of authentication used is robust. The technology and devices used should be up to date. This is because outdated technology poses a higher security risk (Retterer, 2004). Implementing wireless networks and purchasing mobile devices is not cheap. Therefore, this office should make sound financial considerations before embarking on this shift.
Alexander, J. (2009). Securing your wireless network. AAOS Bulletin, 51(2), 23-25.
Kim, D. ( 2010). Fundamentals of Information Systems Security. Boston, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Retterer, J. (2004). Securing wireless technology for healthcare. Journal of AHIMA, 75(5), 56-58.