The State of Healthcare Cybersecurity in the Wake of WannaCry

Posted 07/09/2018 by Jesse Eichhorn

It’s been just over a year since the devastating and, regrettably, mostly preventable WannaCry ransomware attack swept the globe. Unprecedented in scale, this attack brought worldwide focus to the ever-present danger posed by cybercriminals and the increasingly sophisticated tools and methods they employ.

    The UK’s National Health Service was hit particularly hard, where stories emerged from actual patients and caregivers who had been directly impacted by the attack: postponed chemotherapy treatments, delayed medication administration, diverted emergency patients.

    We looked at the state of cybersecurity in partnership with HIMSS Analytics following

WannaCry in late 2017 by conducting a survey of more than 100 healthcare provider IT professionals. The results were not terribly surprising: less than half (48  percent) of healthcare IT professionals expressed confidence in their organization’s overall level of cybersecurity. Only 37 percent of respondents claimed to be both using cutting-edge technology and following training best practices as part of their cybersecurity defense strategy. While we did see some positive indicators – increasing cybersecurity budgets, plans to hire additional resources – the industry clearly had a ways to go.

And looking back over the first half of 2018, the industry continues to struggle. According to HHS, the industry suffered approximately the same number of hacking/IT-related data breach incidents, the number of records breached increased 56 percent to 1.6 million as compared to the same period last year. While this number may be partially the result of more timely and comprehensive reporting by provider organizations, the result remain troubling.

As there is no surefire way to prevent vulnerability to cyberattacks (“it’s not if, but when, you will become a victim”), data backup and management plays a critical role in an overall cybersecurity defense strategy. Commvault delivers an integrated, automated data protection approach that provides a single, complete view of all stored data. This means you can rapidly recover data, whenever you need, so that you can resume business as usual even in the face of a ransomware threat. Commvault software also monitors, alerts and identifies the rate of file changes. Check files are placed in special locations to be monitored for changes. And if files are altered, alerts and notifications are launched for further investigation, before they hop and infect other systems throughout the infrastructure.

These are not just platitudes; Commvault has played an integral role in helping prominent companies all over the world recover their data in response to a cyberattack:

  • Commvault solutions helped a global healthcare organization recover all but 20 minutes’ worth of data in less than five hours in response to a ransomware attack - without impacting the health of a single patient
  • Commvault solutions, alongside its partners, helped a worldwide healthcare software provider detect a zero-day attack and, within a few days, recover more than 5,000 databases with zero data loss

We encourage all companies – especially healthcare providers – to develop comprehensive cybersecurity defense strategies that emphasize data backup and recovery. We’re here to help.

Jesse Eichhorn is the Principal Product Marketing Manager for Healthcare at Commvault. With more than 15 years of experience at the intersection of healthcare and IT, Jesse has helped create more meaningful partnerships between leading healthcare IT companies, their solutions and the provider community.