Blue Goat Cyber

Examining the FDA’s Recommended Security Architecture Views for Medical Device Security

security architecture view for medical devices

In the complex landscape of medical device security, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plays a pivotal role in shaping and enforcing guidelines that ensure the safety and effectiveness of these devices. Central to this role are four critical security architecture views: Global System View, Multi-Patient Harm View, Updateability/Patchability View, and Security Use Case View(s). Each perspective offers a unique lens through which the FDA assesses and manages the cybersecurity risks associated with medical devices.

Global System View

The Global System View encompasses the broader ecosystem in which a medical device operates. This perspective considers the device and its interactions with other systems, networks, and technologies. The FDA emphasizes the importance of understanding how these interconnected components can impact the overall security and functionality of the device. Manufacturers are encouraged to consider external factors such as network security, data exchange protocols, and compatibility with other systems. This comprehensive approach ensures the device remains secure and functional in a globally connected healthcare environment.

Multi-Patient Harm View

The Multi-Patient Harm View is a critical perspective that focuses on the potential for a security breach to cause harm to multiple patients. This view is particularly pertinent when devices are networked or share common software platforms. The FDA stresses the need for robust security measures that can prevent incidents that might not just affect a single patient but have the potential to impact many simultaneously. This approach necessitates heightened vigilance and proactive risk management strategies to identify and mitigate threats that could lead to widespread patient harm.

Updateability/Patchability View

Recognizing the dynamic nature of cybersecurity threats, the FDA’s Updateability/Patchability View underscores the importance of a medical device’s ability to receive timely software updates and patches. This view emphasizes that security is not a one-time feature but a continuous process. Manufacturers must ensure their devices can be easily updated in response to new vulnerabilities. The FDA advocates for a design that allows seamless and secure updates without disrupting the device’s operational integrity or compromising patient safety. This ongoing adaptability is key to protecting against evolving cybersecurity threats.

Security Use Case View(s)

The Security Use Case View(s) involve a detailed examination of various scenarios in which the device might be at risk of a security breach. This perspective requires manufacturers to anticipate and plan for a wide range of potential security challenges. The FDA encourages a thorough analysis of use cases, including unauthorized access, data breaches, and scenarios that could lead to device malfunction or misuse. By understanding these use cases, manufacturers can design more resilient devices prepared for real-world security challenges.


The FDA’s approach to medical device security, encapsulated in these four views, reflects a comprehensive and dynamic strategy. By considering the global system in which devices operate, the potential for multi-patient harm, the necessity of continuous updates, and various security use cases, the FDA aims to ensure that medical devices are effective in their medical purpose and robust in their security architecture. As technology evolves, these views will continue to guide manufacturers and regulators in safeguarding the intersection of healthcare and cybersecurity.

Blog Search

Social Media