Stats & Trends
Brianna Gammons
Aug 2016

5 Extremely Telling Healthcare Cybersecurity Trends

Photo by Source


It has been quite the year for cybersecurity in the healthcare space, with a surge of ransomware attacks on hospitals and ransom payments increasing. Hospitals, healthcare systems, and other healthcare providers are increasingly seeing their systems under attack, with 80% of providers experiencing a recent significant security incident in 2016.

On August 17th, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) released a report on Healthcare Cybersecurity in 2016. Here are a few takeaways from their survey and how your healthcare organization can combat cybersecurity risks in 2016.

1) Security is a greater priority for healthcare organizations this year

With increased attacks on healthcare organizations, it’s no surprise that information security has increased as a business priority for 85% of healthcare organizations since last year. The big question, of course, is how has that increase in priority actually affected these organizations' planning and strategy?

2) Healthcare organizations are worried about phishing and malware, but they aren’t prioritizing endpoint protection


Source: HIMSS

Respondents cited phishing and viruses/malware as the top two concerns motivating them to increase their focus on information security. Both of these threats primarily target users and their endpoints (computers, mobile devices, etc.), and damage is usually caused when users inadvertently download malicious email attachments, hand over sensitive information, or visit a compromised website. 

Yet, even though both of the top concerns involve endpoints, nearly 40% of organizations aren’t doing anything to improve endpoint protection. In addition to investing in antivirus and user awareness training, organizations should really have an additional layer of endpoint security that responds to and stops malicious behavior (shameless self-promo: that's what Barkly does!).

3) Non-acute providers don’t see as much of a risk in the internet of things (IoT)

Hospitals and people working for corporate offices of healthcare systems see security threats looming in the internet of things, but the same can’t be said for non-acute providers like physicians, mental/behavioral health facilities, or ambulatory services. The security of medical devices in the healthcare space has come under increased scrutiny by healthcare security professionals, but so far the industry still doesn't quite see the potential threat as immediate. 

4) The biggest barriers to security improvement are lack of cybersecurity personnel and lack of financial resources

Part of the problem is that many of the solutions marketed to protect against modern malware and sophisticated threats require a large, specialized team of cybersecurity professionals to deploy and manage. 

While these types of high-maintenance solutions can be appropriate for certain organizations with specific needs and use cases, the truth is many healthcare providers can address protecting their endpoints with security solutions that are far more lightweight, affordable, and easier to use.

5) Ransomware is the biggest significant future threat for healthcare organizations


Source: HIMSS

When asked what they consider to be significant threats to their organization in the future, respondents’ number one answer was ransomware. Want to prepare your organization for a ransomware attack? Read our Guide to Ransomware for Hospitals and Healthcare ProvidersYou'll find a checklist of ways that your organization can stop and prevent ransomware threats.

Brianna Gammons

Brianna Gammons

Brianna is helping us grow an active community of security beginners and experts alike. She is exploring topics like security in healthcare and how to keep companies safe from ransomware.


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