MEDICAL TECH: Brevard-Based Black Mesa Systems Provides High Tech Security Systems for Medical Field
By Maria Sonnenberg // January 26, 2018
major technology breaches put both patient and healthcare provider at risk
SPACE COAST DAILY TV: Justin Ramsaran and Mijan Ramharrack talk about Black Mesa Systems, the Brevard-based company the duo founded that provides security systems for medical records and devices in hospitals and outpatient surgical centers.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Breaches in hospital electronic security can be not only major and expensive migraines for healthcare facilities, but can also critically jeopardize patients’ financial and physical wellbeing.
Consider the following major breaches that put both patient and healthcare provider at risk:
• At New York Presbyterian Hospital, a data breach resulted in a $4.8 million Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) settlement. HIPAA outlines physical and technical safeguards for health care entities.
• The Children’s Medical Center of Dallas incurred a $3.2 million penalty after it was found to be in violation of “multiple standards of the HIPAA Security Rule.”
• Memorial Healthcare System’s $5 million HIPAA settlement underscores the importance of device security in hospitals.
Justin Ramsaran, Mijan Ramharrack Found Black Mesa Systems
The medical electronic security issue is a serious one as medical-related identity theft accounted for 53 percent of all reported identity thefts in the United States.
A patient leaves a hospital to find someone has stolen his identity. In another case, a hacker can tamper long distance with hospital equipment such as insulin pumps, perhaps turning it off or adjusting settings out of sheer viciousness. It can happen, unfortunately.
“Medical security is a top priority,” said Justin Ramsaran, who along with Mijan Ramharrack founded Black Mesa Systems, a Brevard-based company that provides security systems for medical records and devices in hospitals and outpatient surgical centers.
“When you’re in a hospital, you got a lot of things to worry about and you’re not thinking what someone can do with your personal records or if the device you’re hooked to is working properly, but there are a lot of malicious people out there. It is critical for hospitals to protect themselves and their patients.”
Although a stand-alone company, Black Mesa has strong connections with BioCellular Therapies and is headquartered in BioCellular’s office on Eau Gallie Boulevard in Melbourne.
Jim Eaker, president of the practice that specializes in regenerative medicine, is a good friend of Ramsaran’s family and serves as an advisor to Black Mesa Systems.
“I’ve known Jim since I was a kid,” said Ramsaran. “My dad was in charge of IT for BioCellular and I would often talk with Jim. He always listened.”
Ramsaran, who has an MBA from Florida Tech with a focus on cybersecurity, and his University of Florida friend Ramharrack are young entrepreneurs who spent more than three years of their lives developing answers to combat cyber terrorism in hospitals and other medical facilities.
The medical industry had not realized how vulnerable it could be until incidents such as what happened at New York Presbyterian opened eyes to the critical issue.
“For many medical devices, the Number One priority is functionality and utility,” said Ramharrack.
“They often are not thinking of security parameters. They may not be able to update device software effectively. Hospitals have basic firewalls in place, but there is vulnerability within.”
The healthcare sector can be easy pickings for computer criminals and is three times more likely to encounter data theft than the average business. Criminals salivate over the prospects of what they can find when they hack a hospital’s records.
“Medical records are black market gold, five times as valuable as credit card numbers,” said Ramsaran.
“You can find information like your social security number and your mother’s maiden’s name. You can completely consume someone’s identity.”
Evil individuals can – just for fun – also gain control of medical devices within hospitals and tamper with settings of equipment such as cardiac care monitors, conceivably risking patients’ lives.
To the rescue comes the Black Mesa Defense Team, which provides 24/7 security monitoring, plus expert analysis and guidance on security events and incidents in order to increase threat detection.
The system utilizes proprietary algorithms to make networks proactive against web application attacks that may be unseen by a traditional hospital network firewall.
Ramsaran and Ramharrack both know that computer criminals will continue to expand their expertise and that Black Mesa Systems must be forever ahead of them.
“We’re very pro-active in our approach to discovering vulnerability and suspicious network activities in the healthcare space,” said Ramsaran.
Black Mesa Systems has received a warm welcome from the technology industry, winning pitch competitions at both LA Tech and Chicago Tech.
Even though Black Mesa was officially launched late last year, the company already has contracts with several hospitals across the country and also supports a cardiac care product manufacturer.
Although the name of the young company at first does not appear to bear any relationship with the world of medicine, there was a method to the choice, beyond the fact that Ramsaran and Ramharrack both think it’s a cool-sounding name.
The company’s moniker refers to the re-envisioning of landmark video game Half-Life, in which, as first-person shooters, players must successfully engage in enemy combat and puzzle solving in order to advance.
As the “first persons” in Black Mesa Systems, Ramsaran and Ramharrack must outmaneuver cyber miscreants to help hospitals. Since at one time or another we will all probably be a healthcare patient, the peace of mind Black Mesa Systems can provide is, as the credit card ad once so well put it, priceless.
For more information log on to Blackmesasystems.com
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