June 23, 2016

The Role of IT Security In Public Safety And Health Care: Part 3 – Current Challenges

Fortunately, governments and health companies recognize the need for IT security in defending their data. The problem? Many agencies are falling behind private industry and exposing themselves to undue risk. According to Recode, reporting on a recent study, government Web applications fail to comply with service standards 76 percent of the time, and government agencies rank “dead last” in fixing security problems with any software they build or buy. Falling behind in IT security has already proven costly for the U.S. Government. In June 2015, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) was hacked and at least 21 million records were compromised. The hack led to a massive inquiry along with the replacement of OPM’s director, but little else except vague assurances of improved cybersecurity.

Health care, meanwhile, has its challenges, as well. As noted by Health IT Security, for example, just 5 percent of health care organizations contribute indicators of compromise (IOCs) to a shared threat database, despite 85 percent of organizations actively gathering this data. The result? Problems that affect multiple providers, which — if shared — could be more effectively addressed. Health care hacks, meanwhile, have become commonplace, with providers, insurers, clinics and hospitals all at risk of a data breach. According to Modern Healthcare, part of the problem here stems from an inability to find experienced IT security pros. Dan Inbar of the Homeland Security Research Corp says there is “infinite demand” for cybersecurity workers in health care but “supply is just 10 percent of the demand.” In other words, health agencies know they need help — but often can’t afford to hire the right people.

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