Posted in Breaches

A sobering forecast on healthcare security breaches

Chris Nerney
Chris Nerney, Contributing Writer |
A sobering forecast on healthcare security breaches

Forrester Research is predicting serious security issues for healthcare organizations as provider consolidation creates gaps in security and increasingly large and tempting data targets for cyber criminals.
In its recent report, “Predictions 2017: Cybersecurity Risks Intensify,” the research and consulting firm wrote that healthcare breaches “will become as large and common as retail breaches.”
“The 2015 breach of Anthem that affected as many as 80 million patients will become commonplace in the future,” Forrester forecasts. “As a result of mergers, acquisitions, and other partnership arrangements, large healthcare insurer and provider conglomerates are only increasing in size — as is the critical patient information they store.”
Forrester calls 2017 “a turning point” for healthcare providers because the “consolidation of providers leaves security fragmented with varying security levels” and 2) patient data carries “tremendous unique, permanent information such as genetic markers, and biometric data, such as fingerprints.”
“For malicious attackers interested in ransom, blackmail, and espionage, this data will be too tempting not to gain,” Forrester concludes.
The consulting firm said healthcare organizations should increase spending on security, noting that the sector lags behind other industries.
Healthcare data breaches cost far more than security breaches sustained in other industries, according to the 2016 Cost of Data Breach Study by Poneman Institute.  The average cost of a lost or stolen health record was $402, more than 80 percent higher than the $221 average across all U.S. industries.