The Data Dilemma: A Visual Guide to Vulnerability in the U.S. Healthcare Industry

Ross Pounds
2 min read

Healthcare data in the USA, by some estimates, is up to 20 times more valuable to cybercriminals than a credit card number. The enticing combination of personal and financial information makes electronic medical records a gateway to blackmail or identity theft, allowing a criminal to build an entire human persona around one record. Given the rapidly evolving nature of medical care, it can be difficult for organizations to ensure their defenses are strong enough ' leaving sensitive patient information vulnerable to breaches.

As critical as cybersecurity is for modern healthcare systems, it's not simply a case of encrypting data and communications. Healthcare organizations must invest in security solutions that remain effective across any number of digital health use patterns.

By utilizing a digitally driven approach to governance, healthcare boards, leadership teams and organizations can stay vigilant against the threat of cyberattacks. Below, we break down the healthcare data challenge in numbers ' the problems it faces, the ramifications of those problems, and what a good solution looks like.  


The Simple Facts



When it comes to crunching the numbers, the sheer volume of information the healthcare industry has to care for is quite staggering. With the American population so reliant on the healthcare system to function fluidly, it's integral that all the right checks and balances are in place.  


The Raw Data



Given the size and scope of the healthcare industry in the USA, it's no surprise that these numbers are so large - or that the vulnerabilities organizations face are so acute. As custodians of particularly confidential and sensitive data, it's essential that healthcare organizations ensure they have the right structures in place not only to manage it but to keep it secure.


Vulnerabilities Laid Bare


Let's be clear - all organizations, no matter the industry, are subject to breaches and risks. But the intrinsic value of healthcare data, coupled with the size of some hospitals, complicated board structures and a reliance on legacy systems, makes it particularly vulnerable. The impact of those vulnerabilities becomes even more stark when we see just how much of a risk cyber breaches can present.  


Help At Hand



Despite the picture painted by the numbers above, all is not lost. Healthcare boards can implement processes and practices that will go a long way to protecting themselves against bad actors. Cybersecurity is, and will remain, the biggest challenge many healthcare institutions face. And while it may not be possible to prevent all cyberattacks, thoughtful steps towards mitigating risk and a plan to address attacks when they do happen will ensure leaders are stewarding their companies effectively through the years to come.


The Solution


Through its modern governance platform and expertise with the concerns of healthcare organizations, Diligent supports organizations both big and small as they navigate today's risks. Read more in Diligent's New Cyber Risk Scorecard.


Discover Your Cyber Risk Score

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Ross Pounds
Ross Pounds is a Content Marketing Manager at Diligent. Based in the UK and a graduate of the University of Warwick, he has worked as a journalist and across a variety of industries in both corporate and early stage environments, and specializes in long-form content and broader content strategy. Ross has'a particular interest in ESG and pre-IPO companies.