Five Considerations for Choosing a Healthcare Cybersecurity Solution

In the wake of the recent Change Healthcare cybersecurity attack that made headlines nationwide, cybersecurity is at the forefront of every healthcare leader’s mind. Cyberattacks like this one and countless others threaten patient safety, paralyze healthcare operations, and disrupt business continuity. Ninety-four percent of hospitals reported a financial impact stemming from the Change Healthcare attack with more than half saying that impact was ‘significant’ or ‘serious.’ In 2023, the average cost of a U.S. healthcare data breach (i.e., where protected health information was exposed) was $10.9 million. The average downtime from a ransomware attack was 18.7 days.  

The message is clear: Cyberattacks harm healthcare organizations in a big way. 

Understanding cybersecurity in healthcare 

One reason for potential harm is that healthcare organizations rely on a multitude of technology systems: Building systems (e.g., lighting control of HVAC), networked equipment (e.g., computers, printers, and asset tracking devices), Internet of Things devices (e.g., mobile devices, tablets, wearables, and fitness devices), Internet of Medical Things Assets (e.g., remote care devices, patient monitoring devices, and medical devices), and other healthcare information technology (IT) systems (e.g., electronic health records, data storage, and scheduling systems). , If any of these systems are breached, there may be catastrophic problems. 

Another reason healthcare organizations are particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks? Sixty-one percent of healthcare cybersecurity executives say that a lack of qualified cybersecurity staff is the top barrier for health systems in achieving a more robust cybersecurity system. 

Investing in healthcare cybersecurity solutions 

According to our report, The Great Shakeup, it’s not surprising then that 84% of healthcare organizations have adopted one or more cybersecurity solutions. By the end of 2024, nearly all organizations (97%) will have them.  

However, the question every healthcare leader must ask is this: Will the cybersecurity solution meet or exceed its anticipated value to the healthcare organization?  

With cybersecurity, dollars and even patient lives are at stake. Today’s healthcare leaders must make informed decisions when choosing a cybersecurity solution to prevent costly cyberattacks and promote strategic goals.  

 Here are five questions to consider: 

  1. What type (or types) of cybersecurity solutions does the vendor provide? For example, does the vendor provide a full-service solution or does it specialize in a specific area such as vulnerability management, data security, threat detection, endpoint protection, incident response, or penetration testing? You’ll need to align the vendor’s offerings with your organization’s specific needs, so you don’t pay for unnecessary types of cybersecurity solutions or invest in something that doesn’t ultimately give you what you need.
  2. Does the cybersecurity vendor have expertise in the healthcare industry? This may seem obvious, but the threat landscape in healthcare differs from that of other industries, and a reputable cybersecurity vendor should understand the nuances of healthcare data as well as new and emerging threats targeting healthcare providers specifically. Be sure to ask about the vendor’s number of health system customers as well as a list of its flagship clients.
  3. Can the cybersecurity solution scale with the healthcare organization’s anticipated growth? For example, will it be able to handle larger or more complex threat surfaces as you continue to expand your hospital-at-home efforts or include more connected devices? What about as your healthcare organization acquires additional physician practices or partners with other entities for data exchange? Will the organization remain protected throughout these transitions and beyond?
  4. Can the cybersecurity solution integrate with all health IT systems? The smoother the integration, the less disruption to your healthcare
  5.  What type of customer support does the cybersecurity vendor provide? Cyberthreats happen all the time, so you’ll need to partner with a vendor that’s available 24/7 to help you mitigate risk and provide ongoing updates and patches to ensure

Choosing a cybersecurity solution is one of the most important decisions today’s healthcare leaders will make. Being fully informed when making that decision is paramount. This entails considering factors such as the breadth of services offered by vendors, their expertise in the healthcare sector, scalability, seamless integration with existing IT infrastructure, and the quality of customer support provided. 

By making informed decisions in choosing cybersecurity solutions, healthcare organizations can proactively mitigate the risk of cyberattacks and safeguard both their financial well-being and, more importantly, the health and safety of their patients. Panda Health recently launched a category focused on Cybersecurity and Healthcare IoT. Contact us today to learn how we can help you identify solutions that secure your patient data and help protect your hospital.