Forescout has acquired healthcare cybersecurity vendor CyberMDX. Pictured: A radiologist looks through scans of a patient infected with the COVID-19 virus at the Acibadem Altunizade Hospital on April 17, 2020, in Istanbul. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Forescout announced Tuesday its acquisition of CyberMDX, a healthcare cybersecurity vendor focused on threat prevention and gaining visibility into medical devices and clinical networks. The companies’ leadership, Azi Cohen, CyberMDX CEO and Wael Mohamed, Forescout CEO, sat down with SC Media to share their unified vision for the healthcare sector.

Healthcare and, more specifically, hospitals will remain a key focus, “there’s no question about it,” explained Cohen.

CyberMDX is an IoT security leader for the healthcare space, often providing invaluable research and insights on medical devices. But the company soon realized that hospitals, and their constrained resources, find it challenging to procure all the security solutions needed for the healthcare space. 

It quickly became clear they needed a full solution, rather than “one solution for medical devices, and another solution for the entire IT,” said Cohen. “Especially in hospitals, they really care for every dollar that they spend. It’s not like a bank.”

Often, providers are pressed to decide between whether they’ll spend another $1,000 on a software security license, or buy another MRI, or life-saving device.

“For providers, it’s very important to see high ROI. And they don’t want to split between a dedicated solution, one for IoT, one for high-end, and etc.,” he continued. The realization prompted CyberMDX to seek out ways to expand their solution offering, as well as partners to help achieve that goal.

For Mohamed, it’s clear that healthcare needs to be able to quickly see value, as they don’t have the same resources as other sectors. As vendors, “we need to do better at removing the friction from deployment, from scale, from extracting value,” while giving providers a high level of confidence with their recommendations

“Because you cannot allow any downtime,” said Mohamed. “We really need to do a better job for our healthcare customers, so they can consume security in a way that is simple and actionable.”

CyberMDX has provided this type of support to the sector, which Forescout aims to build on to serve healthcare. In short, the partnership aims to provide healthcare entities with a comprehensive solution to address clinical threats, not only medical devices but all connections in the clinical environment.

Healthcare is the definite focus with the acquisition in the near-term, but Cohen noted their tech may be used in other areas to expand or improve Forescout’s offering in the future.

CyberMDX previously focused more on the recommendation side, providing input on the needed steps to move providers in the right direction prior to enforcement, explained Cohen. As Forescout acquires CyberMDX, the CEOs believe they can provide much needed synergy to the sector.

“We declared healthcare as a priority for us many years ago because our focus, when it started and in our tradition, was mostly to get to the highly regulated areas, vis a vis government, banking, and healthcare,” Mohamed said.

Forescout has one of the largest repositories and intelligence on devices, with more than 3,000 customers in the enterprise. Three years ago, the vendor began working to assess whether some devices needed deeper insights or a higher level of sophistication.

In talking to its healthcare customers, it became clear that Forescout needed to take a similar approach to IoMT devices. Given that IoT is the likely next surface of attack, Mohamed explained that the acquisition of CyberMDX felt like a natural fit and next step. 

“I have learned how good technologies, when actually coupled with good platforms and scale, can go the distance,” said Mohamed.

In the last few years, it’s been abundantly clear that healthcare is overwhelmed with many threats, and there’s a lot of work needed to support these entities, he explained. The mission for Forescout is clear: how to make it easier for healthcare clients to use the technology.

It’s what drew Forescout to CyberMDX: they partner with device manufacturers to try getting ahead of the curve. Mohamed explained they’re hoping to build on those relationship, acknowledging that “we can only get ahead in this arms race by partnering with manufacturers.” 

In that way, the healthcare entities can focus on what they need to do, servicing patients, rather than “chasing vulnerabilities left and right, while trying to figure out exactly how to protect devices.” As repeatedly reported in 2021, medical device security risks are something provider organizations have simply learned to accept.

The acquisition will provide Forescout with new threat intel and vulnerability reserves from CyberMDX, bolstering its ongoing work to address device vulnerabilities. The team has disclosed multiple vulnerability groupings that impact millions of medical devices. Forescout intends to continue partnering with the industry on these key efforts.

Forescout intends to provide an update on its ongoing efforts following the acquisition in the next 90 days.