10 reasons why hackers think your HDO is an easy target

And why many CIOs are choosing managed services to bridge the IT resource gap and boost security.

Even before the pandemic, CIOs at most healthcare delivery organizations (HDOs) faced severe IT resource shortages as they worked to transform digital infrastructures to strengthen cybersecurity, automate clinical workflows, comply with regulations, and deliver consumer-driven healthcare.

Then COVID-19 hit, requiring IT teams to focus on securing mobile devices for remote staff and enabling telehealth offerings for clinicians and patients. Urgent priorities like these, combined with existing challenges such as maintaining legacy systems, managing unsecured medical devices, and juggling project backlogs, caused the IT resource gap to become more than an operational challenge.

It’s now an increasingly serious security threat as well.

New research shows that nearly 40% of healthcare IT decision-makers say their HDO is at greater risk of security breaches due to inadequate expertise in data protection and cybersecurity. And with cyberattacks in the healthcare sector up by 71% in 2021, and experts predicting more of the same this year, it begs the question:

Why is your HDO such an attractive target for cybercriminals?

Hackers see your organization as a prime target because they know that:

  1. Technology is outpacing skilled workers. Advancing technology is far outpacing specialized IT and cybersecurity talent across all industries. But this is especially true in healthcare – a traditionally underfunded, understaffed industry where the IT resource gap is already particularly acute.
  2. PHI is prized on the dark web. Patients’ protected health information (PHI) is highly valued on the dark web. And in the case of ransomware attacks, many HDOs are extorted and forced to pay hackers to recover compromised patient data.
  3. HDOs are slow to adopt IAM tools. Healthcare generally lags behind other industries in adopting – and effectively managing – enterprise-wide identity access management (IAM) technologies like multifactor authentication (MFA), single sign-on (SSO), privileged access management (PAM) and vendor privileged access management (VPAM).
  4. COVID-19 delayed critical initiatives. The pandemic placed a heavy burden on HDO budgets and IT staff, forcing delays to mission-critical IT infrastructure projects (including strengthening cybersecurity) – leaving many organizations more vulnerable to attack.
  5. Remote work and telehealth add complexity. Over the past two years, as thinly-stretched IT teams raced to provide their staff secure remote access (especially via mobile devices) and enable telehealth operations, the potential for taking advantage of security gaps grew.
  6. Third-party data sharing increases risk. HDOs routinely share data with a complex “supply chain” of third-party vendors and provider networks which broadens the attack surface, increases risk, and invites exploitation by bad actors.
  7. Legacy systems are highly vulnerable. Many healthcare organizations opt to invest in technologies for improving clinical capabilities and patient care before replacing or updating outdated, highly vulnerable legacy systems with more secure alternatives.
  8. Unsecured devices are potential entry points. While medical and other IoT devices are critical to delivering quality care, they’re most often not designed with security in mind – which means they can more easily be used as network entry points to launch attacks.
  9. Clinicians and staff lack security awareness. It’s estimated that 95% of cybersecurity breaches are due to human error. And yet, cybersecurity training is not a priority for many HDOs. One recent study found that only 16% of health workers clearly understood the dangers of phishing.
  10. Most HDOs haven’t adopted Zero Trust. Zero Trust is an integrated, proactive approach to security that requires continuous verification of every network transaction. A digital identity-based Zero Trust architecture helps HDOs more effectively repel attacks, protect PHI, and ensure patient safety.

More CIOs are turning to MSPs to extend their teams and strengthen security

CIOs, CISOs, and other successful IT leaders are increasingly engaging expert managed services providers (MSPs) to help their organizations bridge the ever-widening resource gap, strengthen cybersecurity, and focus on mission-critical initiatives required to meet strategic operational and technological goals.

And by partnering with a healthcare-focused MSP, HDOs like yours can most effectively ensure patient privacy and safety, improve clinical workflows, maintain IT infrastructure, and meet regulatory compliance – all while reducing staffing and project costs.

These industry specialists bring years of experience implementing industry-leading identity access management solutions – to extend the power of your team and ensure fast, secure, role-based access to systems and applications.

Learn how to extend the power of your IT team with Imprivata Managed Services.