Study: 81% of large health care organizations breached

In the past two years, 81 percent of hospitals and health insurance companies have had a data breach, according to a report released by KPMG.

"These are all incidents where they have determined they lost data," said Greg Bell, Cyber US Leader at KPMG. "This wasn't just a malware or a virus infection -- it actually went to exfiltration."

The study surveyed 223 senior technology and security executives at health care organizations with over $500 million in annual revenues.

However, only 66 percent of the insurance executives and 53 percent of hospital executives said they said that they were prepared for an attack.

And 16 percent said they cannot detect an attack in real time.

As a result, KPMG was dubious about one result -- that only 13 percent of organizations had an average of more than one attempted cyberattack a day.

According to KPMG, many organizations are not collecting data on attacks or managing them effectively. They might also be under reporting the number of actual breaches, as well.

"They are probably compromised and don’t even know it,” said Michael Ebert, KPMG partner and healthcare leader at the firm’s Cyber Practice, in the report.

One problem is staffing.

"They don't have someone who is solely responsible for information security, who collects that information and provide that leadership to the organization," Bell said.

According to the survey, 15 percent of healthcare organizations do not have a leader whose sole responsibility is information security. And 23 percent do not have a security operations center to identify and evaluate threats.

In addition, 55 percent say they have a hard time staffing their organization, said Bell.

Another issue could be a disconnect with a senior leadership of these companies.

According to another recent KPMG survey, 92 percent of CEOs said that their companies are fully prepared to deal with a cyberattack.

"There's over-confidence in the board room and top executive suite," Bell said.

On a positive note, 85 percent of hospital boards and 89 percent of insurance company boards have discussed cybersecurity in the past year.

In addition, 86 percent of hospitals and 88 percent of insurance companies have increased spending on cyber security in the past 12 months.

However, spending levels are still not adequate in many areas.

"That spending rate is probably under-invested considering that the threat to an organization has increased so much," said Ebert.

Most problematic is managing vendor security risks, where only 35 percent of respondents said that they had adequate resources.

In addition, only 53 percent said they had adequate resources to monitor for data leakage, and 55 percent for handling security incidents.


Maria Korolov

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