New Report Identifies Impact of Successful Cyber Attacks Against Healthcare Organizations

IDC Health InsightsIDC Health Insights announces a new report, “Business Strategy: Thwarting Cyber Threats and Attacks against Healthcare Organizations.” that features findings from the 2014 IDC Insights Cross Industry Cyber Threat Survey. The report is designed to gauge how financial services, healthcare provider organizations and retailers are responding to increasing cyber threats and the impact of successful attacks on business operations. The study also highlights how healthcare organizations are investing in their cyber strategy to protect their most valuable electronic assets.

Today’s healthcare organizations are at greater risk of a  cyber attack than ever before in part because electronic health information is more widely available today than in the nearly 20 years since the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act was passed in 1996. Cyber criminals view healthcare organizations as a soft target compared to financial services and retailers because historically healthcare organizations have invested less in IT, including security technologies and services, than other industries, thus making them more vulnerable to successful cyber attacks.

The value of health information, which can be used to commit medical fraud, is surpassing the value of social security and credit card numbers on the black market, thus increasing the attractiveness of stealing health information.

Key findings include:

According to Lynne A. Dunbrack, research vice president, IDC Health Insights, “For healthcare organizations, it’s not a matter of if they are going to be attacked but when. Healthcare cyber security strategies need to take a comprehensive approach and include not only react and defend capabilities, but also predict and prevent capabilities to effectively thwart cybercriminals.”

Cyber attacks against healthcare will assuredly increase in number and level of sophistication in the next 12 to 24 months. As other industries become more proficient at thwarting cyber attacks, cyber criminals will continue to cast their nets wider to find vulnerable information assets to exploit. IDC Health Insights expects over time that spending allocations will change to support predict and prevent security strategies rather than defend and re-mediate strategies.

According to the new report, to take a more proactive stance in protecting themselves against cyber threats and attacks, healthcare organizations will need to invest in threat intelligence reporting which combines reports from security vendors and the organization’s own network logs. Predictive analytics can then be applied against these external and internal data feeds to help identify behaviors that suggest that systems are being compromised and under attack.

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