Fortified Roundtables: Connect, Network, Exchange Best Practices with Healthcare Cybersecurity Peers

Fortified Health Security's Roundtable logo

Sharing knowledge and experience amongst peers is essential to increasing the cybersecurity posture of healthcare. As an industry leader, Fortified feels that we have an obligation to provide a platform for open collaboration and information sharing.  So, we created the Fortified Roundtables.

Fortified’s hour-long web conferences held monthly give healthcare and life science cybersecurity professionals a chance to come together to discuss common challenges, ideas, and solutions. There are no vendor presentations, and no one has to sit through a sales or marketing pitch. “When we committed to hosting the roundtables, it was decided from the start that the goal was to provide a space where peers can get together without a vendor agenda. The community or members of the Fortified ecosystem as we call them, are the drivers of the discussion. The dialogue and feedback has been tremendous from attendees,” said Dan L. Dodson, CEO of Fortified Health Security

Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week (Oct. 18-23) is the perfect time to come together, reflect, and call attention to the contributions that cybersecurity professionals make every day to their organizations and to society at large.  But their contributions are far reaching. Which is why it is also time to bring awareness to the critical role the cybersecurity workforce plays in enhancing the security posture and economic outlook of organizations across the globe.

Raising security awareness and maturity in healthcare starts by creating trusted peer relationships. Meeting, even virtually, helps build relationships with others in similar roles at other organizations. 

Cybersecurity professionals have long been under intense pressure, especially in healthcare environments that contain protected patient information. During the past two years, security risks have greatly expanded as back-office and administration employees moved to remote work during the pandemic, extending the security environment well beyond the four walls of a hospital or health center. Threat actors increased their attacks on healthcare IT environments during the pandemic, causing additional stress.

It’s no wonder, then, that 62% of information security professionals report increased workloads, with 38% of those saying they’ve experienced burnout, according to a global survey of over 500 cybersecurity professionals conducted earlier this year by Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) and industry analyst firm Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG). More than half of professionals report a cybersecurity skills crisis in their organizations, and 10% describe that impact as significant. Nearly 40% say their organizations have difficulty filling cloud computing security roles, and another 30% report difficulty filling application security roles.

Organizations continue to struggle to hire and retain cybersecurity staff. Recent data shows 465,000 unfilled cyber jobs across the nation. Governments have been particularly hard hit, with 36,000 public-sector cyber openings at the local, state, and federal government levels. Reasons cited include uncompetitive pay, inflexible work practices, and often difficult and frustrating hiring processes.

The same ISSA/ESG cybersecurity survey shows that some companies and HR staff don’t fully recognize the value that cyber professionals bring to the job. Adding cybersecurity resources and team members is often looked at as sunk costs, but more organizations are looking to proactive cybersecurity measures in order to cut costs. Getting HR and executive leadership to see the bigger picture can be a struggle. More than three-quarters of respondents say it is extremely or somewhat difficult to recruit and hire security professionals. Among the reasons cited were lack of competitive pay (38%), HR not understanding the required skills (29%), and unrealistic job listings (25%). Three-quarters of cyber professionals say they were approached by recruiters every month.

Cybersecurity Awareness Month seeks to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity across the country to help ensure that all Americans have the resources they need to be safer and more secure online. This year’s theme is “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart” and encourages people and organizations to own their role in protecting cyberspace while stressing personal accountability and the importance of being proactive on cybersecurity issues.

The White House has proclaimed October Cybersecurity Awareness Month, underscoring the issue’s importance to industry and individuals.  With ransomware attacks targeting many of our nation’s vital infrastructures including healthcare and financial institutions, utility services, and the companies who fuel the country’s essential supply chain, the impact has been devastating to many while putting the health and safety of millions more at risk. Cybersecurity professionals are on the front lines every day, protecting critical IT infrastructure from attack. Healthcare cyber professionals and leaders face increased pressure because of the sensitive nature of the data they protect and the widespread IT infrastructure that houses it.