Tom Olzak

Security None-sense

In Data Security, iPad, Network Security, Risk Management, Security Management on December 1, 2010 at 13:03

I’m sitting in my mother’s hospital room. It is in a new, modern, well thought-out addition to the Toledo Hospital. There is even high-speed Internet access via Wi-Fi. However, the hospital’s IT department blocks social networking sites. Why?

If it’s for security, why bother? I can access Facebook and Twitter from my iPhone and iPad using other tools. For example, I sent a Facebook post (just because I could) using my email. I continued to receive friend updates via email and text messaging. I could also post photos or video from my iPhone. So any HIPAA compliance intent is fully circumvented.

If the hospital is blocking social networking to preserve bandwidth, it needs to reconsider. Today’s patients–and their families–have integrated 24/7 social contact into their lifestyles. Blocking access is simply a poor business decision.

Finally, they may block blogging before my next visit, given that I am writing this on my iPad will sitting in my mom’s room…

  1. Remember when not too long ago at a large healthcare company, they did the same on the corporate network. Could it be lack of segregation in guest and corp. Could it be a simple acl on the network keeping you from all that patient data. I hope not, but its hard to get separate blocking systems paid for when planning a guest network. We struggled proving the value of full seperation and logging vs the cost. Although I am 100% for complete separate environments in a sox or hippaa situation.

    Hope your mom is doing better soon.

    • You’re right, Craig. I hadn’t thought about the possibility that they didn’t separate the networks. The thought was too frightening to contemplate… lol. And who knows, maybe they don’t have competent network engineers as did that unnamed health care company…

      Thanks for your well wishes for my mom. Looks like things aren’t as bad as we first thought. Hope things are going well for you and your family.

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