Oct 18, 2022

Armis helps leading Irish healthcare provider further its mission to offer the highest standard of care to patients

Blog Header – Blog – Mater Hospital

“Two products for the price of one,” is how Dr. Michael Connelly, CIO of Ireland East Hospital Group (the largest healthcare provider in Ireland) describes Armis.

In a sector that relies on up-to-date, critically important information for making medical decisions in an acute healthcare environment, Connelly has no tolerance for risk or anything that could interfere with the flow of patient data to clinical staff. That’s why, in 2021, he took decisive action to close network security gaps at one of the major hospitals in the group: Mater Misericordiae University Hospital (Mater Hospital). Ever since he deployed Armis in the acute care hospital, he’s seen how the solution has reduced risk in two distinct ways: it provides secure access to vital patient information and it identifies vulnerable assets on the network

As Dublin’s leading frontline level-four acute care hospital, Mater Hospital is where Dubliners and people from all over Ireland go for specialized care in multiple surgical and therapeutic interventions and treatments. The teaching hospital is acclaimed for its top-level heart surgery, heart and lung transplants, spinal injuries, and other life-threatening conditions. It’s equipped with more than 700 inpatient beds and employs approximately 4,300 clinicians and support staff – about six people per patient, demonstrating the high level of care the hospital provides.

The importance of choosing the right partner in high-stakes cybersecurity

With lives on the line, Connelly is intent on reducing risk and improving the organization’s security posture. Aside from the obvious moral obligation to take his job, in his own words, “incredibly seriously,” he also has a compliance obligation: Mater Hospital is state-funded and governed by the European Union NIS Directive, which establishes a common level of security for network and IT systems. If an incident or cyberattack were to occur, the organization could be liable and even fined for disruption of essential services. The directive mandates organizations to report such incidents and take appropriate action to upgrade their cyber defenses. The directive also requires organizations to have a complete asset inventory

With so much at stake, Connelly says he makes it a point to always choose best-of-breed vendors. Following an internal assessment of the organization’s security defenses, he and his team determined that asset visibility was an area in need of improvement. The search for an asset visibility solution led him to Armis. Connelly and his team needed a tool that could show what assets were connecting to the network and identify their current patch status. In addition to vastly improving asset visibility, Armis was able to bring Mater Hospital into compliance with minimal effort by providing a detailed and comprehensive asset inventory.

Armis helps hospital discover and address vulnerabilities

When Connelly and his team put Armis to work, they discovered that a lot of the hospital’s third-party assets, though under contractual maintenance agreements, were nonetheless in poor condition and some were even infected with malware. 

“Our vast estate of assets were running multiple versions of operating systems and had different configurations,” notes Connelly. Prior to Armis, the team was blissfully unaware of these woefully outdated third-party assets, but immediately gained visibility into them once Armis was deployed. 

“Metrics and accountability are key to understanding how to protect the hospital’s network,” he asserts. “Armis gives us precise evidence so we can deal with third-party suppliers who are connected to our infrastructure and hold them accountable. Now we can tell them what state their equipment is in and what needs to be done to bring the equipment into compliance with our contractual agreements. All of this helps make our environment a safer place from a cybersecurity perspective.” 

By integrating Armis with Microsoft Active Directory, Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager, and other tools, Connelly and his team can manage the hospital’s Microsoft Windows endpoints, including installation of updates and application of security patches as needed. This proactive approach to security is a point of pride for Connelly, who knows that others look to his organization as a leader in the industry. 

“One of my goals is to show our other 11 hospitals how Armis can help them become more proactive and progressive in keeping their networks and assets secure,” he states.

Mission-critical data, securely delivered in an easy-to-digest format

At the end of the day, it comes down to the reliable, secure delivery of relevant patient data that enables Mater Hospital’s clinicians to continue delivering the top-quality care they are famous for. Connelly especially appreciates how Armis provides this data in a user-friendly way that is easy to visualize

“Armis has a major role in making the relevant data available to us in an easy-to-access manner,” he says. “Above all, Armis quickly collects the data we need to help us make informed decisions on how to deliver the best possible treatments to our patients.” Luckily for patients in Ireland, that means the best possible outcomes as well.

To find out more about how Mater Hospital uses Armis to create an accurate asset industry, achieve compliance, and provide clinicians with the data they need to deliver superior patient care, read the case study.

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