A Look at Cyberattacks in the Healthcare Industry During COVID-19 and Remote Work

October 16, 2020

In 2020, two issues have made the need for cybersecurity more pressing than ever. 

The first has been the ongoing move to remote work. This shift has increased concerns for companies about the vulnerability of mobile devices and the online activities of hundreds and sometimes thousands of newly remote employees.  

And then, there’s COVID-19, which has simultaneously accelerated the move to remote work and placed added stress on already stressed healthcare institutions. Unfortunately, since the start of COVID-19, bad actors haven’t let up as the world has witnessed a dramatic rise in the number of cyberattacks and data breaches—particularly in the life sciences industry.    

Inside of a hospital waiting room. See a row of chairs and a reception desk.

With so many unknowns in play, we wanted to develop a better understanding of cybersecurity trends, opportunities, and challenges in today’s evolving threat climate. To do so, Arctic Wolf has partnered with BioPharma Dive’s Brand Studio to survey 100 security leaders. The full results can be found in Cyberattacks in the Time of COVID-19 and Remote Work

The report reveals how security operations addresses major cybersecurity issues that put healthcare companies at risk, as well as current themes, stats, and advice. Let’s take a closer look at how the shift to remote work has changed today’s the problems for today's IT teams, with an excerpt directly from the guide:  

The Shift to Remote Work Has Strained Company Cybersecurity

The abrupt move to a remote workforce has not been without its blessings. According to a recent Nielsen report, nearly three-quarters of remote workers prefer the “freedom and flexibility” that comes with working from home.  

But that freedom and flexibility comes with a potentially high cost for those in healthcare and biopharma—both for companies and their security teams. An article in The National Law Review described several ways that companies may put their security at risk during the rush to remote work, from relaxing firewall protocols (to facilitate work-from-home capabilities) to creating emergency medical facilities without proper security infrastructure. 

According to our respondents, the move to remote work has created or worsened a number of security challenges. 60% of the respondents reported that workers accessing company information via home networks and systems had become a challenge this year. More than a third reported that having their security teams work remotely, either full or part-time, had caused delays or disruptions. 10% said that they had put larger projects crucial to the long-term safety of the company’s IP on hold. 

Inside the guide, you'll also find key information and pressing concerns about today's cybersecurity landscape, including: 

  • The top challenges organizations are facing in 2020 as the result of an increasingly remote workforce. 
  • The top three security priorities for IT teams this year. 
  • How security priorities have changed in 2020.
  • The overwhelming type of threats organizations are seeing more of. 
  • Additional security operations investments teams have made as a result of COVID-19, and more

Learn what's on the minds of today's healthcare IT leaders, the main difficulties teams are experiencing, and why security operations is the most effective way to protect your organization. Download Cyberattacks in the Time of COVID-19 and Remote Work

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