In theory, security measures should not be a hurdle to organizational workflow or disrupt business functions. Instead, they ought to serve as a foundation upon which institutions can build. For many organizations, however, the seemingly simple task of user verification can be excruciatingly difficult. Setting up the infrastructure, managing multi-user hardware (like scanners, readers and smart cards) and acquiring support from solution providers are all far from easy for the IT team. From the user perspective, not being able to access the appropriate system at the right time is as damaging, if not worse, than unauthorized access. Nowhere is this situation as potentially impactful as in the healthcare industry. Often racing against time to save lives, physicians, nurses and other point-of-care clinicians cannot afford workflow delays associated with traditional authentication systems. When pressured to attend to the timely needs of their patients, these skilled and dedicated professionals at times are forced to seek workaround methods that, unfortunately, can circumvent and possibly jeopardize authentication altogether. If you are looking for a ‘silver bullet’ for multifactor authentication, where one of the most crucial components of the foundation is to secure the ever-vulnerable user login and access points, ShareSafe may have one.
“Healthcare has a real problem with multiple logins to multiple information systems, multiple user types with various roles and responsibilities who have to access the same systems but not in the same way,” says Rick Schooler, advisor and ShareSafe Health board member for Alabama-based ShareSafe Solutions. Having served as a healthcare CIO for over 23 years, Rick had just recently retired from the CIO role when he decided to join the ShareSafe team. The seasoned professional realized the potential of ShareSafe’s multi-factor authentication(SafeShield®) and Single sign-on (SafeLaunch™) offerings. In combination with their secure, cloud-based suite of powerful collaboration(SafeConnect®) and knowledge dissemination (ShareFire®) tools, he felt it created a very unique value proposition. “As healthcare consolidation continues with mergers and acquisitions,” explains Schooler, “the need for simple and cost-effective ways for people to communicate, collaborate, and get access to the systems they need becomes paramount. ShareSafe’s approach of just going to the cloud and turning on multi-factor authentication by downloading a single app means a ‘minutes’ vs ‘months’ deployment.” Schooler adds. “As one of ShareSafe’s board members, I am compelled to always represent the needs and interests of my CIO and healthcare provider colleagues across the industry. I believe the ShareSafe suite of products are ready to redefine multi-factor authentication and single sign-on as well as electronic collaboration and learning management in healthcare,” says Schooler.
Mobile Single Sign-on for Healthcare and Beyond
Although the offering was initially meant for authentication into ShareSafe’s applications, the leaders at the company’s innovation labs were quick to realize the potential impact it could have on other information systems, not only in the healthcare community, but in business organizations as well. When ShareSafe’s Vortex Platform was released in September of 2017, phenomenal response was what ensued, and the company quickly grabbed the spotlight.
I believe the ShareSafe suite of products are ready to redefine multifactor authentication and sindle sign-on as well as electronic collaboration and learning management in healthcare
At a time when the healthcare sector was in dire need of an all-round, user-friendly authentication infrastructure, ShareSafe came to market with more than expected. “By introducing the first mobile multi-factor authentication app to healthcare, we have brought breakthrough technology that simultaneously improves workflow and security while significantly reducing costs. We dematerialize the passwords, badges, scanners and fingerprint readers that are currently used for authentication into an app for smartphones. We eliminate the cost of biometrics – the workload, time, hardware, and efforts associated with authentication and single sign-on to other systems,” says Robert Hanson, ShareSafe’s CEO and co-founder. “Our mission is to help physicians and clinicians, who are the ‘heroes’ of the healthcare industry, to deliver the best quality of care. ShareSafe was originally created to make a difference in patient safety, and that thread stills runs in our DNA,” he adds. “By providing technology that empowers end-users while impacting security and finances of organizations, we believe we are creating a new standard in the industry.”
The novel differences that ShareSafe has incorporated into their offerings are multi-pronged. Built from the ground up by their team of engineers, ShareSafe’s infrastructure, from a technology standpoint, does not require services from federated or ‘third-party’servers as the company’s COO, John Beck explains. The next huge differentiator is the solution’s remarkable ease of use, given it is packaged as a mobile app, downloadable from the App Store or Play Store. Thus, a verified mobile device, in the hands of a biometrically verified user becomes the authentication key and doorway to collaboration. Ensuring minimal time and little effort for authentication deployment, this approach is potentially disruptive to the industry. The three-factor authentication of SafeShield, a prominent module in ShareSafe’s Vortex platform, works its magic by verifying the user’s biometrics from his or her verified mobile device via facial or fingerprint recognition. The offering also works seamlessly for single sign-on to other systems, even with the powerful facial recognition feature of the iPhone X. “We use encrypted 3-way IP connections to reduce the chance of ‘man in the middle’ vulnerabilities. The app sends time-limited, single-use soft tokens out-of-band to authenticate users via the SafeShield Identity Access Management (IAM) server. When the user’s session is over, it’s all gone; nothing remains in the mobile device or application. That’s how SafeShield secures the system and differentiates itself in the authentication market space,” adds Beck.
Tagged as healthcare’s first mobile single sign-on app, SafeLaunch is the dynamic mobile desktop locking application from ShareSafe that works in tandem with SafeShield to create user profiles in a more refined manner. The module can also leverage proximity-based authentication, physical security and geo-fencing access. ShareSafe’s authentication infrastructure works similarly to Adobe or Amazon by granting access to its suite of 9 products on a turnkey basis or modularly, but takes it a significant step further by its ability to deliver authenticated login to other vendor’s applications, whether premise-based, Web-based or mobile.
"We eliminate the cost of biometrics as well as the workload, time, hardware, and efforts associated with it"
The Vortex platform fuses two other market sectors with its mobile IAM (mIAM™): Advanced Communication and Knowledge Dissemination. With SafeConnect, the company’s comprehensive communication system, ShareSafe eliminates the need for a third-party secure texting solution for the hospital ecosystem. In addition to messaging, e-mail, and video chat, SafeConnect facilitates collaboration through private communities and groups. And when it comes to employee education and training, the ShareFire Learning Center and interactive content management system raise the bar on point-of-need knowledge dissemination. From mobile access to media resources and collaborative tools to streamlining learning procedures such as using an EHR or new medical device to spreading awareness on best practices that can be adopted by all levels of employees, the platform has it all. “The combinatorial value of extraordinary user experience, enhanced security and lower cost threatens to overturn incumbents and reshape the market,” says Hanson.
Bird’s Eye Visibility
And that’s not all. ShareSafe’s concurrent analytics, ShareLytics®, goes the extra mile by capturing and intuitively delivering every detail of activity across all modules of the Vortex platform in real time. ShareLytics can also track unusual activities from logins to potential intrusion detection. “We can look at what event was caused by what user, in what area, at what time, and the duration. We store everything so that we can build views of platform activity and performance for our clients. That information alone has become one of the largest databases we have in our archive,” says Beck.
In a nutshell, ShareSafe’s Vortex Platform, with ‘plug-and-use’ multifactor authentication, knits together all the critical systems across a care provider’s workflow. It is a seamless platform for HIPAA-compliant communication, training and information exchange across complex healthcare enterprises. The platform further leverages powerful analytics to deliver macro views as well as microscopic views of the minute processes associated with workflow. For many healthcare entities, this just might be the silver bullet that replaces the need to rely on multiple solutions providers.