Regardless of how long they stay in a medical facility, patients and their visitors now expect that they will have access to wireless Internet during their time there. While it was once just a convenience, it is now an essential part of ensuring that they remain comfortable. As such, it is now the responsibility of the healthcare facility to ensure that their Wi-Fi is fast, reliable, and accessible.
Let’s go over a few best practices that healthcare providers should keep in mind as they protect the use of the Internet for their patients and guests.
Your Guest Network Needs to be Separate from Your Operational Network
First and foremost, the Wi-Fi connection that you use for your own processes cannot be the same one that your patients access for their browsing. Your security needs demand that your equipment is kept away from as many threats as possible. Healthcare providers, professionals, and anyone who appreciates the essential nature of HIPAA compliance understand this, simply due to the requirements that these regulations impose.
Consider how simple it could be for someone with malicious intent to access your guest network—or even someone whose device has been compromised without their knowledge. Either scenario could end in serious issues and complications should health data be made accessible to either user’s device. Avoiding this will require you to lock down your internal network, and to maintain the security of this network by keeping the password private and updated on a regular basis.
If you’d like us to look at your network to be sure that it complies, take a few moments to reach out to us.
You Might Not Need New Hardware for a Guest Network
So, you need to set up a guest network—fortunately, chances are that the hardware solutions you have existing in your business can support a separate Wi-Fi network dedicated to your guests. This is a considerable benefit to you, as you not only can avoid the purchase of new equipment, you can get away without installing more or even modifying your setup. This, of course, isn’t always the case—an older network may need a few upgrades.
You will need to consider how much bandwidth your existing wireless network can support. Fortunately, most modern access points allow for your staff’s use and visitors’ use to be split between different bandwidths. This prevents your guests’ usage from impeding on the bandwidth that your business needs. You don’t want a patient passing the time on Hulu to prevent you from accessing your other patients’ medical records.
This means that establishing restrictions is important, beyond just moderating the content that your users can access. You need to also moderate how much Internet they can utilize before it interferes with your business.
Establish Policies for Guest Use
Speaking to your guests’ usage of your network, you need to establish some rules as to what your users can and can’t use it for. Requiring them to agree to set terms of service is recommended, and you should have the capability to monitor for fraudulent or illegal activity. If your practice is open for set hours, unauthorized users shouldn’t have access to the network when you are closed for business, and access should also be restricted to your location as well.
A guest network doesn’t have to be inherently expensive, but it will take a little more than simply activating a feature on your router. If you’d like assistance, we can audit your existing network to evaluate its capabilities. With our help, we can ensure that your network’s security is prepared to keep your patients happy and safe.
To get started, give Vudu Consulting a call at 866.640.0557.