The healthcare and pharmaceutical industries have become a key target for cyberattacks and incidents of data theft and manipulation. As technology advances and data volumes increase significantly, hacking techniques also become more sophisticated and pose a risk to valuable intellectual property, trade secrets, and patient health information.
The healthcare industry has witnessed an increase in the efficacy of patient care through the use of technologies such as big data, AI, machine learning (ML), and deep learning (DL). As digital transformation takes place across the industry, there is a fundamental change in the way individuals, companies, and governments operate with relation to healthcare. Today, patients are increasingly ready to experiment in the transformative space of healthcare technology. They are more accepting of digital innovation and are trying out new concepts, such as virtual clinics, wearable medical devices, medical apps, and home-based diagnostics.
It has become essential for the healthcare industry to integrate their siloed internal processes and assess their digital maturity and digital engagement roles in order to derive new business models, transform the way digital trials take place, and stay ahead of the competition. The industry has turned to digitization to improve existing operations, solve new problems in patient care, and create new opportunities.
Threat Agents to Cybersecurity
A few cases for strong cybersecurity software solutions in the healthcare and lifescience space are as follows:
- There is an increase predicted in the severity of ransomware attacks through connected devices.
- Through cybersecurity education, the healthcare industry will face fewer threats.
- The implementation of AI will secure data and protect sensitive patient information.
- The reputation of healthcare organizations will not be impacted due to cyberattacks.
- Institutions will be able to protect themselves from customized phishing attempts and other advanced cyber threats.
In the life science vertical, digital solutions provide robust support for drug discovery and digital clinical trials. The vast amount of data being collected, as well as the critical task of keeping this data safe from hackers, is important for providing better treatment outcomes while maintaining patient trust.
The use of IoT devices in the healthcare industry significantly improves the quality of patient care—but at the same time, these devices also present an increased attack surface for cybercriminals. Devices that are connected to a healthcare network need to be adequately protected; relevant cybersecurity solutions include strong process design, access control/logging, antivirus, application whitelisting, version control, and intelligent threat analysis.
Endpoint security management is a key aspect of a robust healthcare cybersecurity strategy. Vital technologies for endpoint security include application whitelisting, user access control, patch management, virus protection, encryption, digital signatures, and firewalling. It is challenging for healthcare organizations to keep track of everything going on in their network, which typically includes countless endpoints and device types. Endpoint devices range from medical devices, operating systems, and mobile devices to devices that operate off-network.
Through strong cybersecurity strategies, the healthcare vertical benefits in the following ways:
- Preservation of patient trust during PHI collection
- Compliance with HIPAA regulations
- Enabling every endpoint to operate as a frontline defense
- Encouragement of due diligence and cyber hygiene
- Elimination of preventable vulnerabilities
- Assurance of adequate incident response capabilities
Healthcare organizations can improve the safety of their data by implementing the following cybersecurity practices:
- Establish a culture of security
- Protect mobile devices
- Encourage good computer habits
- Use a firewall
- Install and maintain antivirus software
- Plan for unexpected cyber incidents
- Control access to protected health information
- Use strong passwords and change them regularly
- Limit network access
- Control physical access
Healthcare companies need to ensure that human behavior goes hand in hand with technology solutions in order to keep sensitive information secure. A strong security and privacy program can help establish patient trust and protect the company’s reputation. The healthcare and life sciences vertical heavily relies on technology to cure diseases. Sending, storing, retrieving, and sharing sensitive data is a major part of their everyday operations. Data is constantly exposed to security threats, and thus, it is important for every organization to try and prevent cyberattacks by investing in better cybersecurity solutions.