Today Fortified Health Security, a leader in information security, compliance and managed services focused solely in the healthcare industry, released its first annual Horizon Report. This extensive report details the current state of cybersecurity in healthcare, new and existing threats and predictions for 2017.

“While the healthcare industry has taken some positive steps in safeguarding electronic Personal Health Information (ePHI), our adversaries have matured their tactics, held some organizations ransom and continued to exploit our environments throughout the past year,” said Dan L. Dodson, president of Fortified Health Security. “Managing risk is complicated so we created the Horizon Report to build awareness of these threats and provide insights on how to manage them in today’s changing healthcare landscape.”

2016 Year in Review

The Horizon Report provides a review of predominant cybersecurity issues in 2016 with details on the most relevant security issues that manifested themselves this year, including the increased threat of ransomware, more significant financial settlements with OCR than ever before and a heightened focus on third-party risk.

“In just the first 10 months of 2016 the number of major breaches caused by hacking has already increased 51% over the full year 2015,” said Dodson. “This has been a trend since 2012 and will likely continue in the coming years.”

The Evolution of Ransomware

A useful review of the evolution of ransomware is included in the Horizon Report, which includes information on the origins of Ransomware, current methods for responding, best practices and an Office for Civil Rights (OCR) overview. A 2016 breach data review also details the state of cybersecurity and how the anatomy of a breach in the healthcare industry has changed in recent years.

“2016 has clearly been the Year of Ransom in healthcare because of the sheer volume and severity of the attacks we experienced this year,” said Dodson. “Our report details a number of best practices that healthcare organizations can follow when it comes to preventing ransomware issues, but the best prevention is to implement proactive security measures around people, processes and technology throughout the entire organization.”

Cybersecurity 2017 Outlook

The Horizon Report also takes a look at what healthcare organizations can expect to experience regarding cybersecurity in 2017 and provides an overview of Fortified Health Security’s predictions. Some of these predictions include double-digit increases in breaches; mixed healthcare board engagement; increased civil litigation; budgets that are insufficient to deal with cybersecurity issues; and the OCR moving toward a national framework for healthcare.

“As an industry we must recognize that the landscape is changing around us and it’s critical that we improve and take proactive methods to combat cybersecurity threats that are growing in size and complexity,” said Dodson. “It’s imperative that healthcare leaders realize that solving these problems requires the focus and the strength of their entire organization. Much like long-term business goals and objectives, healthcare leaders need to develop strategic security roadmaps that will improve their posture over time.”

Fortified Health Security’s Horizon Report can be downloaded here.