Health Care IT Pros Harbor Concerns Over Security Issues

Data privacy and security are still primary concerns thanks to recent ransomware attacks on hospitals, according to the results of a Peak 10 survey.

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Now more than ever hospitals are seeing the benefits and efficiencies of moving toward outsourcing and trusting the cloud, cited by an up to 50 percent increase in cloud services (IaaS), according to a Peak 10 survey of 157 C-level executives and information technology professionals across the United States.

However, data privacy and security remain primary concerns because of recent ransomware attacks on hospitals, according to 59 percent of respondents.

Survey results show the main challenges respondents face are system interoperability issues, meeting security and compliance and balancing their human capital resources to meet regulatory and business requirements.

"The most concerning finding was around the lack of confidence in their security programs. The majority of respondents gave themselves a grade of B- at best," Christina Kyriazi, Peak 10’s manager of marketing insights and analytics, told eWEEK. "When speaking with them, quite a few of them expressed concerns that they feel that they either cannot catch up to all the new types of security threats or they do not have enough resources to meet the demand for security. Once you address one concern something completely new comes up that you may have not thought about. We heard a lot of them spend 'sleepless nights' worrying about their environment’s security."

Kyriazi noted another surprising finding was the accelerated adoption of cloud and consistent decline of internally hosted workloads.

"IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) cloud adoption increased by as much as 50 percent or more in some instances while we saw in-house workloads go down, as compared to our last survey in late 2014," she said. "Health care IT leaders are starting to realize the benefits of the cloud, which enables them to be more efficient [and] agile and drives their costs down."

She explained one of the biggest hurdles health care IT leaders face when it comes to security is usually an internal perception, with many of them facing budget constraints when it comes to raising enough funds from their board to cover all the extensive security needs.

"On top of that they also face a huge hurdle from the changes in security threats. It seems that every day there is something new, stronger and worse than the last threat and they struggle with addressing it promptly and efficiently," Kyriazi said. "While we were fielding our research, the high-profile ransomware attack was happening targeting health care organizations. Each health care CIO we spoke to expressed big fears that their hospital could be targeted next. They all hoped that they would not be the next target."