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Symantec cybersecurity study: Healthcare is getting better but much too slowly

Symantec health IT officer David Finn said that despite increases in budgets and staffing, breaches and security incidents are on the rise.
By Tom Sullivan
08:07 AM
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Symantec cybersecurity study

Symantec released its second annual cybersecurity report and the findings are both good and bad.

“Since this is the second year in a row we’ve commissioned this study and we were able to ask some of the same questions, we know we’re getting a real year-over-year comparison, showing that things are getting better,” said David Finn, health IT officer at Symantec.

Positive improvements Finn pointed to include increased spending and staffing as organizations institute more formal security frameworks.

This year’s Symantec report, with research conducted by HIMSS Analytics, found that the average number of internal and external employees fully dedicated to security rose to 68 from 58 in in the 2015 report. And the number of IT employees dedicated to security from to 29 from 17 last year.

The bad news? Finn said that even while data sharing continues increasing as healthcare organizations adopt EHRs, and attest to meaningful use measures, healthcare still severely lags other industries.

The research, in fact, found that a majority of healthcare entities still dedicate 6 percent or less of their overall IT budget to security — surprising given the fact that more than half of participating organizations were struck by an external cyberattack during the last year.

What’s more, over one-third of organizations still only comply with mandates or have implemented basic security controls.

It’s no wonder than only one-quarter of study respondents believe their organization has the resources to adequately protect against cyberthreats.

“Breaches and cyber incidents in the healthcare sector continue to rise, despite the increases in spending, staffing and use of framework,” Finn said. “We are improving, but way too slowly.”

Finn is scheduled to present the research findings at Symantec’s booth on the show floor, Monday-Wednesday at 11 a.m. EST.

Symantec is in booth 1733. 

HIMSS17 runs from Feb. 19-23, 2017 at the Orange County Convention Center.


This article is part of our ongoing coverage of HIMSS17. Visit Destination HIMSS17 for previews, reporting live from the show floor and after the conference.


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