Asia-Pacific health facilities vulnerable to cyberattacks, potential losses can reach US$23.3mil

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Many healthcare institutions in the Asia-Pacific region are vulnerable to any form of cyberattacks. This was highlighted in the recent study conducted by Microsoft, in partnership with Frost & Sullivan with the theme, “Understanding the Cybersecurity Threat Landscape in Asia Pacific: Securing the Modern Enterprise in a Digital World.”

In terms of losses, any health facility can incur losses amounting to a maximum of US$23.3 million from cybersecurity attacks. According to the study, about 45% of the health organisations have probably experienced or unsure if they have encountered cyberattacks.

Also, it was found that among those that have received threats only 18% of these firms have closely acted on adopting a cybersecurity strategy before launching digital transformation initiatives. Meanwhile, 33% among the pact that has not encountered any attacks have installed a cybersecurity initiative prior to having a digital project.

The study cited a breakdown of the potential direct and indirect economic costs that any huge healthcare facility can face caused by a cybersecurity incident. One of the factors cited was the absence of data breach assessments. As earlier cited nearly half have confronted a security incident or remain unknown how to identify a security incident.

With regard to the rate of digital transformation, three out of five healthcare firms across the region have postponed the process of converting to digitalisation for fear of experiencing cyberattacks.

While on the issue of adopting advanced technologies, about 81% or four out of the five healthcare facilities have embraced or even pondering on using AI-based system to ensure a cybersecurity strategy is in place.

Another factor cited involved how healthcare firms were able to recover from cyberattacks. As observed in the findings, 50% of the institutions who had about 50 cybersecurity solutions in place would take over a day to resolve cyberattacks while 79% of them that have 11 to 25 solutions would need less than an hour to find solutions to a particular online attack.

The Microsoft survey included 1,300 respondents from 13 different Asia-Pacific IT and other business sectors such as China, India, Singapore, and Australia. About 11% of them were from the healthcare industry.

Every system is prone to attacks and cybersecurity breaches. In Singapore, the authorities are doing all their efforts to mitigate the risks and strengthen the current systems to protect the citizens’ personal information.

Based on the study, the losses were identified by assessing the direct impact such as productivity loss and issues on remediation cost, including indirect losses brought by customers’ commotion that adds to the negative effect on brand reputation.

The major economic impact of cyberattacks was the dwindling number of customers, while 60% of the healthcare firms in the previous year experienced job layoffs in various departments.

Kenny Yeo, industry principal of cyber security of Frost & Sullivan noted as most APAC healthcare organisations shift towards digitisation and embracing transformation and innovation, developing a strong foundation with security and compliance measures are key factors to their business operations.

Yeo added embedding security and privacy into different areas of digital interactions should be mandatory, especially when handling sensitive and confidential data.

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