Hospitals Turn to Intent-Based Networking Solutions and Other Tools to Manage Evolving Use of Conne…

Since 2013, the total number of patient visits has risen by 20,000 annually. Today, clinicians and staff at the 391-licensed-bed hospital and its multiple satellite clinics care for more than 500,000 inpatient, outpatient and emergency department visitors combined. CHLA is also a significant research entity, says CTO Troy Veilleux.

“Research requirements and needs for device use, data set management and data sharing are much different than for a hospital,” he says. “Researchers often press the envelope. It’s been a huge challenge at times for us to be responsive and effective.”

To facilitate those efforts, CHLA leverages upward of 30,000 connected devices every day, including barcode scanners, infusion pumps, heart rate monitors, medical imaging equipment and more. That’s nearly five times the roughly 6,100 connected devices it needed just 10 years earlier, and the total continues to grow daily.

“Medical devices, Windows workstations, laptops, iPads, cellphones — you name it, our connected environment is ever growing,” Veilleux says. “There are all sorts of devices coming in all the time.”

That continuous influx of new technologies combined with those items already on CHLA’s network has led the hospital’s IS department to rethink its approach to device management. Last year, the organization deployed Cisco Software-Defined Access (SD-Access), which uses a controller architecture and intent-based networking to automate user access policy across an enterprise. It also implemented Cisco Digital Network Architecture (DNA), which presents an organization’s network on a single screen.

Japan to Hack 200 Million IoT Devices

In mid-February, the Japanese government plans to start openly hacking more than 200 million IoT devices already installed at home and elsewhere in Japan.

The government’s plan — announced a week ago — is likely to expose the uncomfortable truth known to many experts but unknown to most consumers: Many IoT devices in use are vulnerable to cyberattacks.

Insecurity in IoT is triggered by many factors — including consumer indifference and inaction. Too often, consumers don’t bother to change the initial settings in an IoT device after purchase and installation. Second, peer-to-peer communication among IoT devices, by nature, remain unchecked and unsupervised. Third, service providers aren’t doing automated updates of firmware frequently enough.

While security experts hail the Japanese government plan as a necessary step, many Japanese media reports have balked, criticizing the heavy hand of the government.

Critics call the action a violation of citizens’ privacy. Indeed, who is comfortable with the idea of the the government peering into every personal life? Second, most people don’t trust the government to keep the collected data safe. How could anyone be sure the government won’t expose some data — even unwittingly? Finally, the Japanese harbor the undeniable fear that Japan is becoming a surveillance nation in the name of public safety. Is Japan becoming China?

In its public announcement, the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) said it will use default passwords and other tactics to attempt hacks of randomly-selected IoT devices, seeking to compile a list of vulnerable devices.

NICT will then share the information with Internet service providers, who will be advised to alert consumers and to secure the devices. The government has not specified the targeted IoT devices, but it will most likely start with routers and webcams. The NICT said the program could last for up to five years.