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Network visibility improvements for large healthcare trust

ForeScout Technologies : 14 January, 2015  (Application Story)
A healthcare provider in Northern Ireland has solved the problem of increasing numbers of non-managed endpoints on its network with CounterACT technology from ForeScout
Network visibility improvements for large healthcare trust

The Northern Health and Social Care Trust (Northern Trust) healthcare organisation found that increasing numbers of devices not owned by them were being used on their network, a situation that called for improved network visibility and control. To achieve this, Northern Trust approached continuous monitoring and mitigation solution provider, ForeScout Technologies.

One of the five health trusts in Northern Ireland, Northern Trust covers ten locations including 8 hospitals, providing healthcare to a population of around 460,000 using the services of some 12,000 staff. As a large organization providing critical services to such a large quantity of people, there was a pressing need to avoid any potential impacts due to Information and Communications Technology (ICT) security incident.

The trust chose CounterACT from ForeScout Technologies to secure 15,000 endpoints at 150 sites without any dependence on additional equipment or specific software version requirements. The specification included the ability to have visibility and control over all network connected devices including building management systems, clinical engineering and medical devices.

One distinguishing feature of CounterACT that was of significant benefit to the trust was the fact that it is agentless meaning that nothing needed to be installed on individual endpoints or devices in order to gain full visibility, perform security scans or run device risk assessments.

Northern Health and Social Care Trust's ICT Network and Security manager, Pat Black commented on the ForeScout installation: “We witnessed the power of CounterACT within a matter of hours of the appliance being installed. The network infrastructure environment that we work within has a significant number of connected devices that are neither Trust-owned nor managed. If a device presents a security or governance risk, a decision needs to be made quickly on how to effectively manage that risk, particularly if it is a compromised medical device. ForeScout enables us to reduce the risk associated with these non-Trust owned and unmanaged devices, and allows us to respond to incidents and alerts more quickly than we had ever been able to do in the past.”

After deploying CounterACT, Northern Trust realised the following benefits:

* Comprehensive, real-time visibility of the network, including endpoints, that are neither Trust-owned nor managed, e.g. medical, clinical engineering and BMS devices
* Real-time visibility of over 15,000 endpoints and proactive remediation of potential threats to guard against rogue users, devices and applications
* Secure and continuous network connectivity, which helps Northern Trust deliver uninterrupted critical health and social care services
* Increased ICT security and governance controls via simple policy configuration
* Easier and faster compliance reporting, e.g. Information Governance and ISO 27001, reducing manual overhead
* Rapid internal threat identification and remediation

“The approach we’ve been taking is to manage restrictions on connectivity such that they are at an absolute minimum, whilst maintaining appropriate levels of security and governance. In the health sector connectivity - and indeed security - for medical devices, in particular, is essential in terms of uninterrupted delivery of critical health and social care services,” explained Black. “With ForeScout we can rest assured that we have visibility and, all importantly, control over devices connecting to our network.”

Read the full Northern Trust case study

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