In the past year alone, cyberattacks have skyrocketed, with an average of more than 4,000 password attacks per second – a threefold increase from the previous year. The sophistication of these attacks demands a paradigm shift in how healthcare entities approach identity and network security. 

As we usher in to the new year, enhanced security measures take center stage. And today, we’re going to talk about the security foundation that healthcare organizations should implement for proactive protection – starting with identity access management (IAM) with the help of Microsoft Entra ID.

Invest or Risk: Navigate the Financial Implications of Data Breaches

The average cost of a data breach reached an all-time high in 2023 of USD 4.45 million. This represents a 2.3% increase from the 2022 cost of USD 4.35 million. Taking a long-term view, the average cost has increased 15.3% from USD 3.86 million in the 2020 report. 

While data breach costs continued to rise, report participants were almost equally split – 51% – on whether they plan to increase security investments because of a data breach. The top areas identified for additional investments included incident response (IR) planning and testing, employee training, and threat detection and response technologies.

Security AI and automation were shown to be important investments for reducing costs and minimizing time to identify and contain breaches. (Source: IBM Security Cost of a Data Breach Report 2023


All Security is Intertwined with Identity Access Management (IAM)

Healthcare organizations have the most valuable data – protected health information (PHI). The foundation of any organization’s security suite to protect that data revolves around identity and access management (IAM). It orchestrates the complex dance of user authentication, authorization, and access control. Without a solid foundation in identity management, any additional security measures a healthcare organization has (such as incident response) may not yield the desired results. 

Identity management extends far beyond user login credentials. It is connected to data protection, regulatory compliance, and the proactive protection of critical assets. When identity access management is compromised, it creates a ripple effect, impacting confidentiality, integrity, and availability of healthcare data.

The CIA triad refers to confidentiality, integrity, and availability, describing a model designed to guide policies for information security (infosec) within an organization. 

The recent surge in cyber threats underscores the importance of identity management in mitigating data breaches. A well-implemented IAM strategy can thwart unauthorized access attempts, detect anomalous behaviors, and swiftly respond to security incidents. The interconnected nature of IAM ensures that security measures are not isolated, but rather work cohesively to proactively protect sensitive healthcare information.

In an era of stringent data protection regulations, IAM plays a pivotal role in ensuring compliance. From managing user access permissions to maintaining audit trails, IAM provides the necessary tools for healthcare organizations and more to meet regulatory requirements and demonstrate accountability.

ResourceInsider Threats in Healthcare

The Paradigm Shift in Identity Access Management (IAM) with Microsoft Entra ID

Microsoft Entra ID – a cloud-based identity and access management solution – offers a vision to secure the millions of connections happening every second across the digital ecosystem of healthcare organizations.

As most cybersecurity professionals may already know, the change to Microsoft Entra ID is a name change for Azure AD. Except it is more than a marketing initiative to simply “change the name” of Azure AD to “make it feel newer.” The reasons for this change are to…

  1. Convey Multicloud, Multiplatform Functionality: The rebranding aims to clearly communicate the multicloud and multiplatform capabilities inherent in the suite of products

  2. Mitigate Confusion with Windows Server Active Directory: The move seeks to alleviate any potential confusion that may arise with Windows Server Active Directory, establishing a distinct identity for Microsoft Entra ID

  3. Unify the Microsoft Entra Product Family: Another key objective is to create a unified identity for the broader Microsoft Entra product family, fostering cohesion across the suite

The transition to rename Azure AD to Microsoft Entra ID marks a significant step in redefining IAM practices. Going beyond a mere name change, Microsoft Entra ID reflects a commitment to unifying the broader Microsoft Entra product family. This change not only addresses current challenges but also positions IAM as a central tenet in the ever-expanding digital landscape.


How Microsoft Entra ID Can Connect to Microsoft Sentinel

Time and time again, tools within the Microsoft suite are often underutilized. The untapped potential lies in recognizing them not just as standalone tools but as integral parts of a comprehensive security strategy.

The central control over identity paves the way for seamless integration with various tools, giving organizations the flexibility to choose between third-party tools and integrated solutions tied to the organization’s identity. Instead of attempting to tackle the entire ecosystem at once, the strategy is to focus on individual components at any given time. 

By pairing any two components – be it Microsoft Sentinel, Defender for Cloud, or others – healthcare organizations and security teams can unlock components that contribute to a more robust security posture.

In terms of data flow, Microsoft Entra ID seamlessly connects with Microsoft Sentinel.

Microsoft Sentinel, as a security information and event management (SIEM) tool, plays a pivotal role in…

  • Centralized Security Monitoring: This allows for a unified view of activities, making it easier to identify potential security threats.

  • Comprehensive Log Analysis: Connecting Microsoft Entra ID to Microsoft Sentinel streamlines the integration of various identity and access management tools. In many cases, it can replace the need for other tools such as Okta, Duo, or those used for two-factor authentication, providing a high success rate for integration.

  • Advanced Threat Detection: With comprehensive data from Microsoft Entra ID, come event correlation and advanced threat detection when connected to Microsoft Sentinel – Sentinel's capabilities help in identifying potential security incidents or suspicious activities that may go unnoticed with traditional monitoring methods

This centralized data monitoring becomes crucial when conducting risk assessments for healthcare customers, emphasizing the importance of comprehensive log management for compliance. The proactive monitoring facilitated by Microsoft Sentinel, with its analytics and reports, stands out as a way to catch potential issues before they escalate.

Essentially, organizations can catch threats before it does any damage.


How Avertium Can Help Maximize Your Microsoft Investment

As healthcare organizations grow, the amount of security-related data also increases. Connecting Microsoft Entra ID with your other Microsoft solutions allows for seamless interoperability and cost optimization, leveraging the strengths of your Microsoft suite for enhanced security. 

Using Avertium’s Assess-Design-Protect approach, we help you…

  • ASSESS – Get a clear picture of your current state with a 3-Week Security Baseline Assessment. Avertium starts with an assessment to understand how Microsoft Entra ID aligns with your organization’s existing processes and systems. Before fully embracing Microsoft Entra ID, engage in comprehensive penetration testing. This step is crucial to uncover potential vulnerabilities and assess how well Microsoft Entra ID aligns with your security needs. Simulating real-world scenarios ensures that Microsoft Entra ID strengthens your defense mechanisms without compromising security.

  • DESIGN – Prioritize and optimize your security architecture with the implementation of Microsoft Entra ID. Microsoft Entra ID presents an opportunity to enhance efficiency while establishing the groundwork for a robust, long-term security infrastructure that seamlessly scales with your evolving cybersecurity needs. Customize the integration of Microsoft Entra ID to meet the specific requirements of your organization, ensuring strategic alignment with your security goals.

  • PROTECT – Fuse your cybersecurity operations for continuous improvement and proactive protection with MDR for Defender for Endpoint. Pair up with a trusted partner, such as Avertium. By finding a partner who has comprehensive knowledge of your organization and expertise with Microsoft products, you can maximize your Microsoft Entra ID integration into your organization’s cybersecurity workflow. This collaborative approach ensures successful integration and a unified defense against evolving threats.

Protect on an ongoing basis with Avertium – To schedule a consultation with Avertium experts on Microsoft Entra ID, contact Michael Leggett ( or Fred Cobb (






Avertium is a cyber fusion company with a programmatic approach to measurable cyber maturity outcomes. Organizations turn to Avertium for end-to-end cybersecurity solutions that attack the chaos of the cybersecurity landscape with context. By fusing together human expertise and a business-first mindset with the right combination of technology and threat intelligence, Avertium delivers a more comprehensive approach to cybersecurity. That's why over 1,200 mid-market and enterprise-level organizations across 15 industries turn to Avertium when they want to be more efficient, more effective, and more resilient.

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