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Black Book Survey Says Healthcare IoT Security is Maturing Too Slowly

By Ken Briodagh
May 14, 2018

Black Book Market Research recently surveyed more than 2,400 security professionals from 680 provider organizations to identify gaps, vulnerabilities and deficiencies that persist in keeping hospitals and physicians vulnerable to data breaches and cyber attacks. 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.

Over 90 percent of healthcare organizations have experienced a data breach since 2016 and nearly 50 percent have had more than five data breaches during the same timeframe, according to the results. Not only has the number of attacks increased, more than 180 million records have been stolen since 2015, affecting about one in every 12 healthcare consumers.

The dramatic rise in successful attacks by both criminal and nation-state-backed hackers illustrates how attractive and vulnerable these healthcare enterprises are to exploitation. Despite these wake-up calls, the provider sector remains exceedingly susceptible to ongoing breaches.

Budget constraints have encumbered the practice of replacing legacy software and devices, leaving enterprises more susceptible to an attack.

“It is becoming increasingly difficult for hospitals to find the dollars to invest in an area that does not produce revenue,” said Doug Brown, founder, Black Book. According to 88 percent of hospital representatives surveyed, IT security budgets have remained level since 2016. As a percentage of IT organizational budgets, cybersecurity has decreased to about three percent of the total annual IT spend.

Despite the lack of earmarked funds by U.S. buyers, Black Book projects the global healthcare cybersecurity spend to exceed $65 billion cumulatively over the next five years.

“The dilemma with cybersecurity budgeting and forecasting is the lack of reliable historical data,” said Brown. “Cybersecurity is a newer line item for hospitals and physician enterprises and budgets have not evolved to cover the true scope of human capital and technology requirements yet.”

Other key results:

  • Fifty-seven percent of IT management respondents report their operations are not aware of the full variety of cybersecurity solution sets that exist, particularly mobile security environments, intrusion detection, attack prevention, forensics and testing.
  • Fifty-eight percent of hospitals did not select their current security vendor in advance of a cybersecurity incident.
  • Thirty-two percent of healthcare organizations did not scan for vulnerabilities before an attack.
  • Sixteen percent of healthcare organizations reported they felt intimidated by a vendor to retain services when the vendor identified a vulnerability or security flaw. "While the intrinsic nature of cybersecurity radiates pressures and urgency, hospitals shouldn't let this dictate the vendor selection process," said Brown.
  • Sixty percent of healthcare enterprises have not formally identified specific security objectives and requirements in a strategic and tactical plan. Without a clear set of security goals, providers are operating in the dark and it's impossible to measure results.
  • Eighty-three percent of healthcare organization have not had a cybersecurity drill with an incident response process, despite the skyrocketing cases of data breaches in the healthcare industry.
  • Only 12 percent of hospitals and nine percent of physician organizations believe that a 2019 assessment of their cybersecurity will show improvement. Twenty-three percent of provider organizations believe their cybersecurity position will worsen, as compared to three percent in other industries.
  • In 2018, 24 percent of providers still do not carry out measurable assessments of their cybersecurity status. Of those that did, seven percent used an objective third-party service to benchmark their cybersecurity status, six percent used an objective software solution to benchmark their cybersecurity status and 78 percent self-assessed with their own criteria.
  • Twenty-nine percent of respondents currently report they do not have an adequate solution to instantly detect and respond to an organizational attack.
  • Seventy-four percent of surveyed CIOs did not evaluate the total cost of ownership (TCO) before making a commitment to sign their current cybersecurity solution or service contract. Eighty-nine percent reported they bought their cybersecurity solution to be compliant, not necessarily to reduce risk when the IT decision was made.

Ken Briodagh is a writer and editor with more than a decade of experience under his belt. He is in love with technology and if he had his druthers would beta test everything from shoe phones to flying cars.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

Editorial Director

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