Healthcare organisations shift IT priority from regulatory compliance to cybersecurity and staff education

Due to the current pandemic, and the ensuing remote work, many organisations have now had to change their IT priorities. To understand this shift and revise previous predictions, Netwrix recently conducted another online survey, polling 937 IT professionals from around the world, and released the 2020 Netwrix IT Trends Report: Reshaped Reality.

The study found that the importance of regulatory compliance has dropped almost by half for healthcare organisations, from 42% to 24%. In contrast, interest in security-related tasks, such as data security and cybersecurity awareness among employees, increased. It is not surprising that compliance has become a secondary concern while security looms large in the minds of IT pros in the healthcare sector. With the uptick in cyberattacks targeting healthcare providers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is even more important to mitigate IT vulnerabilities, since one security breach can bring a healthcare organisation to a standstill, leaving it unable to take care of patients.

The survey results also showed that the need to educate IT personnel at healthcare organisations has skyrocketed. This increase makes sense for several reasons. Educating IT staff in threat detection and response is another proven way to protect against cyberattacks. In addition, better educated IT staff will be able to provide the support required for health information systems and other IT assets to operate at maximum efficiency under the increased workload caused by the shift to remote work and telemedicine.

The key findings for the healthcare sector include the following:

  • 71% of healthcare institutions say network security is a priority
  • Just 24% of healthcare organisations now see regulatory compliance as a top priority, down from 42% prior to the pandemic
  • The number of organisations prioritising IT staff education skyrocketed from 17% at the end of 2019 to 41% now
  • Interest in data security increased by 10 percentage points, moving up to 82%

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