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Report: Healthcare Way Behind other Major Sectors in Proper Cybersecurity Protocols

February 14, 2018
by Rajiv Leventhal
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The healthcare industry is one of the lowest performing industries in terms of endpoint security, and the sector as a whole ranks near the bottom in cybersecurity strength compared to other major industries, according to a new report from New York City-based security risk company SecurityScorecard.

The report, "SecurityScorecard 2018 Healthcare Report: A Pulse on The Healthcare Industry's Cybersecurity Risks," pulls data from more than 1,200 healthcare companies. SecurityScorecard's research team analyzed information such as issue severity, industry-defined risk level, corporate peer performance, and more. The team's analysis revealed insights on how the healthcare industry performs compared to others, and specific areas of cybersecurity weakness within healthcare organizations.

Some of the report’s key insights include:

  • The healthcare industry ranks 15th when compared to 17 other major U.S. industries.
  • The healthcare industry is one of the lowest performing industries in terms of endpoint security, posing a threat to patient data and potentially patient lives.
  • Social engineering attacks continue to put patient data at risk.
  • 60 percent of the most common cybersecurity issues in the healthcare industry relate to poor patching cadence (which measures how quickly an organization applies an update that patches a security vulnerability).
  • All healthcare organizations struggled with patching cadence and network security.

The researchers noted that slow patching cadences indicate that several factors are affecting IT departments. Sometimes, companies lack engineering resources to implement a solution while other times they lack resources to respond to problems patches cause. In more concerning cases, some companies do not know vulnerabilities and patches exist. Since many standards and regulations require ongoing monitoring, this last reason for slow patching cadence risks the organization's data and its compliance stance, they said.

The researchers added that the sheer number of ongoing software patches often paralyzes organizations, keeping them from implementing the most critical repairs and updates. This opens breached companies to negligence claims and lawsuits.

“Last year took a toll on the overall cybersecurity confidence in healthcare organizations, with dozens of ransomware attacks, and data breaches. It's no surprise that our research team found healthcare organizations are behind in proper network and endpoint security protocols," Jasson Casey, CTO, SecurityScorecard, said in a statement. "As we move through 2018, healthcare organizations need to get back to the fundamentals of good cybersecurity hygiene by keeping up with patching schedules and outfitting the organization with enough personnel to accomplish this goal."

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