Healthcare organizations are sitting ducks for attacks and breaches



Seventy-three percent of health system, hospital and physician organizations report their infrastructures are unprepared to respond to attacks. The survey results estimated 1500 healthcare providers are vulnerable to data breaches of 500 or more records, representing a 300 percent increase over this year. Black Book Market Research surveyed 2,464 security professionals from 705 provider organizations to identify gaps, vulnerabilities and deficiencies that persist in keeping hospitals and physicians proverbial sitting ducks for data breaches and cyberattacks. Ninety-six percent of IT professionals agreed with the sentiments that data attackers are outpacing their medical enterprises, holding providers at a disadvantage in responding to vulnerabilities.

With the healthcare industry estimated to spend $134 billion on cybersecurity from 2021 to 2026, $18 billion in 2021, increasing 20% each year to nearly $37 billion in 2026, 82% of CIOs and CISOs in health systems in Q3 2020 agree that the dollars spent currently have not been allocated prior to their tenure effectively, often only spent after breaches, and without a full gap assessment of capabilities led by senior management outside of IT.

Talent shortage for cybersecurity pros continues

Additionally, 291 healthcare industry human resources executives were surveyed to determine the organizational supply and demand of experienced cybersecurity candidates. On average, cybersecurity roles in health systems take 70% longer to fill than other IT jobs. Health systems are struggling to find workers that request cybersecurity-related skills as vacancy duration as reported by survey HR respondents average about 118 days to fill positions, nearly three times as high as the national average for other industries.

“The talent shortage for cybersecurity experts with healthcare expertise is nearing a very perilous position,” said Brian Locastro, lead researcher on the 2020 State of the Healthcare Cybersecurity Industry study by Black Book Research.

Seventy-five percent of the sixty-six-health system CISOs responding agreed that experienced cybersecurity professionals are unlikely to choose a healthcare industry career path because of one main reason.

More than in other industries, healthcare CISOs are ultimately held responsible for a data breach and the financial and reputation impacts to the provider organization despite having extremely limited decision-making technology or policy making authority.

COVID-19 has greatly increased risk of data breaches

Healthcare cybersecurity has become more complicated as providers are forced to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Understaffed and underfunded IT security departments are scrambling to accommodate the surge in demand of remote services from patients and physicians while simultaneously responding to the surge in security risks. The survey found 90% of health systems and hospital employees who shifted to working at home due to the pandemic, did not receive any updated guidelines or training on the increasing risk of accessing sensitive patient data compromising systems


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Article written for and by Health Net Security

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