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Taking care of people as they reach their senior years requires compassion and diligence, and in  a community living situation, it also requires a well-considered cybersecurity strategy.

Surprisingly, today’s retirement homes, assisted living centers, and senior healthcare settings are often hubs of technology. Endpoints proliferate, from laptops, smartphones, and connected TVs to medical devices, printers, and servers. Unfortunately, this growth of digital endpoints is matched by an increase in cyber threats, with 43% of healthcare organizations having experienced a ransomware attack in recent years.

For one senior housing and healthcare services provider, concerns over the threat of ransomware and the security of the endpoints used across its facilities had reached a boiling point. The impetus for change came with the arrival of a new chief information officer (CIO) who noted that his small IT team was managing the company’s universe of endpoints through a wide range of point solutions lacking integration. Building a more cohesive and secure approach to endpoint protection became the CIO’s overriding priority to avoid unnecessary security gaps and risk.   

Next-Generation Endpoint Detection and Response

When reviewing the leading endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions on the market, the company asked Fortinet to provide a demo of its FortiEDR solution, which provides real-time visibility, analysis, protection, and remediation capabilities for endpoints. FortiEDR goes beyond the capabilities of legacy EDR solutions by enabling organizations to detect and defuse threats in real time, while automating response and remediation.

Having considered its options, the housing and healthcare company proceeded to select FortiEDR to be provided as a managed detection and response (MDR) service across 800 devices. The MDR approach means that Fortinet takes care of endpoint monitoring and response requirements on behalf of the client. This model provides significant benefits for the organization, which does not operate a dedicated security operations center (SOC). With Fortinet managing its endpoint security, the client can free internal resources to focus on other duties.

Consolidating Networking Solutions to Enhance Security

While the immediate aim was to better protect its endpoints against external threats, the client selected Fortinet for a much broader reason. Fortinet provides a security fabric platform on which organizations can consolidate their networking solutions to eliminate gaps in their security infrastructures. For the senior housing and healthcare services provider, this was Fortinet’s key differentiator, providing a roadmap into the future whereby the organization can continue to improve network and data security to match an ever-changing threat landscape.

The Fortinet Security Fabric not only enhances enterprise security, it also reduces the complexity of associated management processes. Having only a small security team, the company immediately recognized the benefits that come from a security infrastructure that is intuitive, powered by automated and managed services, and supported by a single security provider with a clear line of accountability. Compared to the complex collection of networking and security providers it was used to, Fortinet showed it can deliver a consolidated, efficient, and effective cybersecurity mesh platform.

Significantly, the company did not need to rely on Fortinet’s word alone that the security fabric would deliver on its requirements. As is standard practice for all major procurement exercises, the company reached out to a leading third-party analyst for its opinion. The response was unequivocal: Fortinet MDR is the right approach to take for endpoint protection in the context of the company’s wider move onto the Fortinet Security Fabric. 

The Road Ahead to Securing Patient Care

Since deploying Fortinet MDR, the company has started to add new services and leverage the broader capabilities of the security fabric. Already, the organization has deployed FortiMail, which provides advanced, multi-layer protection against the full spectrum of email-borne threats.

Next, the client plans to implement a FortiGate Secure SD-WAN (software-defined wide-area network) solution, FortiGate NGFWs (Next-Generation Firewalls), FortiSwitches, and FortiAPs (access points). When implemented, the FortiGate Secure SD-WAN will provide fast, scalable, and flexible network security using one operating system and one centralized management console.

It is also considering the FortiNAC (network access control) solution, a zero-trust access tool that provides security teams with enhanced visibility into the Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices on their networks.

The digital revolution provides ample opportunities for senior housing and healthcare service providers to innovate and provide a range of new IT services for its residents and patients. As this happens, cybersecurity will be essential if providers are to maintain the resilience of their systems and facilities. As this provider knows, that means taking a holistic approach that leaves no risk uncovered. 

Find out how Fortinet’s Endpoint Security and Device Protection Solutions protects every user and device on and off the network.

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