Healthcare Cybersecurity Predictions for 2017

As seen in Healthcare Business Today, Fortified Health Security's Dan L. Dodson identifies five major cybersecurity trends in 2017 and steps to take today.
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Cybersecurity threats and malicious actors have wreaked havoc across the spectrum of healthcare organizations during 2016. An increase in the number of successful cyber-attacks on providers — along with a heightened focus on compliance from OCR — has left many healthcare leaders struggling to safeguard sensitive patient data.

In the coming year, many entities will evolve to meet this challenge while others will continue to deprioritize cybersecurity. This is a mistake given what is on the horizon for healthcare cybersecurity. We predict healthcare organizations can expect the following five cybersecurity trends in 2017:

What to Expect in the Future of Cybersecurity

1. There Will Be a Double-Digit Increase in Breaches

Malicious actors have turned their focus away from the historically lucrative arenas like the financial industry and have been aggressively targeting healthcare data. As hackers become more advanced and better equipped, healthcare organizations will experience a 10-15% increase in the number of cybersecurity breaches in 2017. Ransomware attacks will increase.

2. Boards Will Ignore the Risk Until They Can’t Anymore

Some healthcare organization boards have already begun managing cybersecurity risk in the same manner as other business risks. Unfortunately, they often become engaged in cybersecurity risk management after a significant event. With that said, we predict that many boards will be content to retain a reactive posture in dealing with cybersecurity concerns. The results will be costly.

3. Civil Litigation Will Increase

We will see significant pressure from civil litigation, due to the breach of ePHI, using federal regulations, HIPAA/HITECH, as a standard of due care. Healthcare and cybersecurity are massive economic growth sectors, drawing the attention of both consumers and attorneys as litigation targets. As consumers have become more regulation-savvy and the legal lay of the land is better understood by attorneys, opportunities to file complaints will exponentially increase.