Why Healthcare Companies Need More Cybersecurity Measures

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  • By Western Alliance
  • Oct 03, 2016
Room filled with computer servers

Cyberattacks have become all too common in the healthcare industry. According to the 2015 Breach Level Index published by Gemalto, a digital security company, the healthcare industry experienced the greatest number of cyberattacks at 187 breaches, which accounted for 21.1 percent of the total. The survey noted that data breaches accounted for 84.4 million records lost, or 34 percent of the total throughout all industries.

Unfortunately, healthcare providers are underspending on their preparations for a potential cyberattack.  Modern HealthCare reported on the findings of HIMSS Analytic survey, which found that health providers are allocating less than 6 percent of their IT budgets for cybersecurity. Compared to the 16 percent of its budget the federal government spends and the 12-15 percent that financial and banking institutions spend, it’s clear healthcare providers need to boost their IT budget allocations.  As cybercriminals become more sophisticated and learn to work their way around ever-increasing security measures, healthcare organizations also want to do everything they can to protect themselves. 

Why healthcare is such a big target

According to Experian’s 2015 Data Breach Industry Forecast, there are several reasons why the healthcare industry seems to have the largest cyber target on its back. First, personal medical records are incredibly valuable, and cybercriminals believe they can make a lot of money by selling this information. In addition, many healthcare companies have only recently become digital, and as a result, might not yet have the most up-to-date security measures in place. Finally, cybercriminals know the power of the information that healthcare organizations possess and the potential for blackmail.  

How cyberattacks are evolving 

Cyberattacks are not only becoming more complex, they are also becoming larger. And cloud-based services are becoming increasingly vulnerable. In January 2016, Arbor Networks released its 11th Annual Worldwide Infrastructure Security Report, which reported that attacks on cloud-based services have increased from 19 percent to 29 percent over the past two years - a rise of 10 percentage points – with this number now sitting at 33 percent in 2016. In addition, the number of multi-vector attacks on service providers rose 14 percent. 

According to Healthcare IT News, the largest cyberattack has grown more than 60-fold since the Arbor Networks survey began 11 years ago.1

How healthcare organizations can protect themselves 

To adequately protect themselves against cybersecurity threats, healthcare organizations should consider focusing on improving the efficiency of their incident-response strategies, as well as increasing their data security through measures like application and disk encryption. To get ahead of threats, the focus should be on more than compliance, which often is just a first step.  

Cybersecurity is just one of the many challenges that healthcare organizations are up against. Western Alliance's customer-focused approach to financing means banking doesn’t need to be one of those challenges. Working with us means you will benefit from an experienced relationship manager as your single point of contact. This banker can help you streamline access to secured loans, accelerate collections and cash applications, finance equipment and expansions, and optimize transactions for better cash management. 

At Western Alliance, our deep experience as a banking resource for healthcare organizations benefits our clients. Contact us for a smart check-up of your banking and financing needs.


1HealthCare IT News, “10 trends in cyberattacks in healthcare, other industries, new survey shows,” Jan. 27,2016, last accessed  Oct. 14, 2016. http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/10-trends-cyberattacks-healthcare-other-industries-new-survey-shows

1HealthCare IT News, “10 trends in cyberattacks in healthcare, other industries, new survey shows,” Jan. 27,2016, last accessed  Oct. 14, 2016. http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/10-trends-cyberattacks-healthcare-other-industries-new-survey-shows


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With more than $50 billion in assets, Western Alliance Bancorporation (NYSE:WAL) is one of the country’s top-performing banking companies. The company is again #1 best-performing of the 50 largest public U.S. banks in the new S&P Global Market Intelligence listing for 2020 and ranks high on the Forbes “Best Banks in America” list year after year. Its primary subsidiary, Western Alliance Bank, Member FDIC, helps business clients realize their ambitions with teams of experienced bankers who deliver superior service and a full spectrum of customized loan, deposit and treasury management capabilities. Business clients also benefit from a powerful array of specialized financial services that provide strong expertise and tailored solutions for a wide variety of industries and sectors. Most recently, the bank added to these capabilities with the acquisition of AmeriHome Mortgage, a leading national business-to-business mortgage platform. Serving clients across the country wherever business happens, Western Alliance Bank operates individual, full-service banking brands and has offices in key markets nationwide.