You embrace prevention. You understand the best method of mitigating loss and damage of a cyber attack is to avert one altogether. Prevent a breach, don’t clean it up. To that end, you’ve helped garner the best, most sophisticated cyber security tools and protocols available today. You educate and regularly update your staff on cyber trends and schemes. You’ve updated old manufacturing and software systems. You maintain actionable and current cyber breach incident response plans, “just in case.” You’ve done it all. Does this sound like your pharma company? No? It should.

Why? Because a cyber attack on your organization is no longer a question of “if,” but “when.”

Swallow these statistics:

  • The 2018 HIMSS Cyber Security Survey revealed that three quarters of respondents experienced a significant cyber breach within the previous 12 months.1 This weighty reality is feedback gleaned from 239 various health information security professionals.
  • Underscoring this sampling is the fact that in 2018, total global attacks increased a whopping 62% at 210 million.
  • Looking ahead, another survey uncovered that 49% of global business leaders anticipate some form of cyber attack upon their organization in the near future2. That number will most likely be higher.

Every organization must consider a cyber attack an inevitability in order to be fully prepared. The repercussions of a breach to customer trust, business reputation, and revenue are far too great.

Let’s look at methods a pharma company can put into action to forge a more resilient cyber security force.

Preparing for the Inevitable Cyber Attack

  1. Assess Your Risks
    You cannot prepare for it if you are not aware that is exists. You must understand the nature of the risk and threats to develop appropriate strategies to combat them – know your enemy. Also, know your weaknesses.
  2. Plan for the Worst
    Prevention is always the best road to security. But as dark hackers mature their techniques and escalate their efforts, you must consider there’s always a chance they may break through your walls. Develop and frequently update cyber breach incident response plans to afford your organization the most rapid and efficient reactions.
  3. Educate Employees
    The value of educating employees regarding cyber security best practices cannot be overstated, particularly when you find that negligent insiders contribute to 20.8% of cyber incidents; and 61.9% of breaches are accomplished through email via phishing. Establish documented protocols and regularly conduct refresher meetings and workshops to keep every staff member and your efforts on par with current cyber security-related issues.
  1. Double-up on Authentication
    Double your security with two different authentication requirements for confidential and sensitive data and locations. If one is compromised, you have the other as a buffer. And it’s less likely that a cyber criminal will take the time and effort to break through two doors. And if he does, the first break-in may notify you in time to halt the attack before he breaches the second signature.
  2. Maintain Current Software and Systems
    Slipping in through an “unpatched” hole in software is a favorite and easy infiltration method for hackers. Update software immediately, even waiting a week to patch known vulnerabilities makes you a target.
  3. Know Your Third-Parties’ Security
    You’re only as strong as your weakest link. If one of your supply chain components or third-parties is weak on cyber security…then so are you. Ask for a detailed overview of their security protocols and conduct regular assessments to ensure their maintaining all to your standards.
  4. Put Your Forces to the Test
    Test your cyber security tools and protocols to find weaknesses before a malicious actor does.

As 2018 rolls to its last quarter, cyber criminals show no signs of slowing down. Each new year brings us more attacks then the year before it. Pharma must act accordingly and spare no expense or effort to prepare for the inevitable cyber attack.

1. 2018 HIMSS Cybersecurity Survey, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, 2018

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Topics: Cyber Security| Technology| Pharma

Angie Longacre

Written by Angie Longacre

As a writer for Assurance Software, Angie devotes her craft to promoting business continuity and disaster recovery awareness, and trumpeting Assurance Software’s invaluable benefits for both. When she’s not commanding the keyboard, you can find her outside for a run, searching for her next antique treasure, or lost in a good book.

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