The St. Marianna Association is a network of hospitals and a medical school in the greater Tokyo area. Founded shortly after World War II, it pioneered treatment for displaced civilians and soldiers with posttraumatic stress disorder. Today, the association is focused on evolving its capabilities and competencies to serve the health and wellness needs of its surrounding communities.
After the Japan Pension Service was breached in 2015, and 1.2 million people’s personal data was exposed, the country founded the National Center of Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity (NISC). This organization spearheaded an initiative to protect Japan’s critical infrastructure – including hospitals – from cyber attacks by deploying the most advanced technologies, including encryption. From the outset it was St. Marianna’s goal to meet and surpass the NISC guidelines.
The association needed encryption to secure critical data across a diverse number of discrete environments. Mr. Hosi Akaoi, St. Marianna’s chairman of the Board of Directors explained, “In the past, Japan’s medical service infrastructure has been slow to grow and strained when ramping up for natural disasters. Furthermore cyber security has lagged behind the standards implemented in Europe and the United States. It is time to expand our medical system while simultaneously improving protection for the medical information of the individuals we serve.”
The healthcare association wanted an encryption solution that could enhance its multi-layered security architecture. Mr. Shinji Kumagai, director of the Social Systems Department reflected, “We sought to safeguard critical data at its lowest level, rendering it unintelligible even if stolen. Because of the way our applications are architected, server-level encryption was a top priority for us.”
At the same time, St. Marianna needed to maintain the user experience for patients and staff with no degradation in performance.
After assessing multiple encryption solutions, St. Marianna’s investigations culminated in the selection of Vormetric Data Security Manager and Vormetric Transparent Encryption. The association first implemented the encryption solution in its flagship location, Megumi Hospital, Tokyo.
Vormetric Transparent Encryption was deployed across all of the hospital’s file servers and the rollout proved to be exceptionally easy. Akaoi noted, “While our multi-layered network security is our main protection, now encryption forms our last line of defense.
“Expansion of the scope of file encryption is proving to be effortless; the Vormetric agent is simply copied onto each server without making any changes to the system being encrypted.”
A key objective of NISC was to safeguard all critical infrastructure against cyber attacks by the 2020 Olympic Games. With the implementation of Vormetric’s powerful and scalable encryption solution, St. Marianna is enjoying being ahead of that goal.
The efficiency of Vormetric Data Security Manager results in end users being unaware that all the files are encrypted. Even if threat-actors were to breach the St. Marianna network and access sensitive, personal information, the data is protected and the criminal would only find meaningless character strings.
In Japan, an association in the healthcare sector must share data with more small-and medium-sized organizations than in any other critical infrastructure industry. After deploying Vormetric, St. Marianna achieved regulatory compliance and is enjoying the new era of security and cooperation.
Kumagai concluded, “As we continue to broaden the scope of our network – and number of endpoints – we need a multi-layered security architecture that can expand with us: The powerful solutions and tools from Vormetric have proven to be more than capable of scaling to meet our needs. Together, St. Marianna and Vormetric demonstrate a best-in-class approach for other institutions to emulate.”
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