global study ‘The Internet of Things: Today and Tomorrow’, 87 percent of healthcare organizations will adopt Internet of Things (IoT) technology by 2019. The pull of IoT is so strong that 76 percent believe the technology will transform the industry. In Singapore, the fast aging population means that healthcare facilities will soon be tested. It is estimated that 30,000 additional healthcare professionals will be required by 2020 to cater to the rising demand for healthcare services. Transitioning to a technology-driven model may be the most efficient solution to address this manpower challenge. Singaporeans are open to this with a survey conducted by Accenture showing that 57 per cent of the surveyed are willing to adopt technology to improve their healthcare experience. While the transition towards a future healthcare model—one that embraces a technology-driven approach to better meet the demands of diverse region—bodes well, it is a horror show waiting to happen when seen from a cybersecurity point of view. According to Frost & Sullivan, Asia Pacific’s healthcare IT market is expected to reach $12.6 billion by 2020, as innovations such as telemedicine, remote monitoring and activity trackers show their value in enhancing the way healthcare professionals meet patient needs. Unfortunately, the significant monetary potential in healthcare IT is also attracting the unwanted attention of cybercriminals who, armed with tricks ranging from phishing schemes to ransomware, are ready to attack. This shows in the numbers: 89 percent of healthcare organizations have already suffered an IoT-related security breach, while 49 percent of them have struggled with malware. Human error and Distributed-Denial-of-Service (DDoS) also continue to be concerns. As hackers begin to deploy intricately planned targeted attacks, whether by breaching confidential systems or attacking websites, these can cause healthcare organizations to come to a standstill—and in the worst cases, endanger patient well-being. The repercussions of poor cybersecurity planning can be a bitter pill for healthcare organizations to swallow. Just recently, the global ransomware attack WannaCry brought down Britain’s National Health Service, as well as hospitals in China, Indonesia and Japan, by preventing healthcare workers from accessing patient records, resulting in canceled appointments and delays in emergency operations. So how can healthcare organizations protect themselves from cybercriminals? Here are six proactive measures or ‘vaccines’ that healthcare organizations can take to guard against cyberattacks:
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