Healthcare Cyber Resilience: Key Measures for Mitigating Cyber Risks in 2024

4 min read


Here’s a headline that demands attention! 116 million individuals in the United States were impacted by large health data breaches in 2023. What’s more! According to records from the Office for Civil Rights as of December 21, 2023, the data reported to the Department of Health and Human Services shows that the number has more than doubled when compared to 2022. 

The motivation for the relentless targeting of this sector is clear – healthcare institutions are treasure troves of valuable personal and sensitive data, making them lucrative targets for attacks and ransomware. However, while being substantial, the consequences of a cyberattack on healthcare go beyond financial losses; it directly impacts patient safety and security, potentially turning it into a matter of life and death. Tampered patient history, delayed life-saving tests, diverted ambulances, and compromised medical procedures are just a few examples of the real-world consequences that patients may face. 

As the digital frontiers expand in 2024, with artificial intelligence (AI) becoming more integral in diagnostics, patient data management, and medical tools, healthcare organizations will need to bolster their cyber risk and resilience strategies.

Rapid Digitization, Surging Data Value, and More—Healthcare Faces Distinct Cyber Risk Challenges

Despite increased focus and investment in cybersecurity, healthcare organizations continue to grapple with persistent challenges unique to their industry. Securing patient information remains a formidable task. In 2023 alone, more than 133 million patient healthcare records in the United States were either exposed or impermissibly disclosed. Additionally, vulnerabilities in connected medical devices, reliance on outdated IT systems, and the need to manage compliance with evolving regulations contribute to the complex cybersecurity landscape. 

The expansion of the attack surface through digitization, connected third-party systems, and cloud adoption has further intensified cyber risks. 73% of healthcare companies store data in the cloud, of which 43% is patient or protected health information. Amidst these challenges, human error (such as clicking on a phishing email), responsible for 85% of data breaches, persists due to resource limitations and a lack of cybersecurity training for healthcare professionals.

Agile, Continuous, and Connected—Mitigating Cyber Risk in 2024 Requires a New Approach!

As healthcare systems become increasingly interconnected, the traditional siloed management of cyber risks and reliance on time-consuming manual processes are no longer effective. These outdated methods hinder the swift detection and response necessary in the face of emerging threats. In today's context, where a single phishing email can compromise millions of patient records and disrupt entire systems, the need for agility and prompt mitigation of cyber risks is more crucial than ever. Embracing an agile, continuous, and connected strategy is paramount to fortifying healthcare organizations' resilience against the rapidly evolving cyber threat landscape. 

Your cyber risk management strategy in 2024 should include: 

  • Automating control testing with continuous control monitoring (CCM) to ensure that all controls – physical, technical, operational, and administrative – embedded across medical devices, systems, data, and networks are regularly tested. 
  • Cyber risk quantification to forecast monetary impact, which will aid in investment decisions, insurance calculations, and communicating criticality to non-technical stakeholders. 
  • Integration of third-party risk management into your cyber risk management strategy, instead of viewing it in a silo, to ensure proper due diligence, regular monitoring, and security assessments to understand your third party’s data security practices, level of compliance, certifications (e.g., HITRUST, ISO 27001), and business recovery plans. 
  • Harmonizing controls across multiple frameworks and standards to ensure that there are no gaps with cybersecurity frameworks like HIPAA, HITRUST, NIST CSF, and ISO 27001, and to enhance overall security posture. 
  • Establishing a risk-aware culture by involving everyone in cyber risk management, simplifying security policies, providing intuitive tools for reporting incidents, and conducting regular training and awareness programs.

Download an infographic on this topic to explore more: Cyber Risks in Healthcare: How to Prepare

MetricStream: Your Partner to Manage Cyber Risk and Build Cyber Resilience

In the face of these multifaceted challenges, healthcare organizations must reassess their cyber risk management practices. As the sector strives to minimize the risk of data breaches and cyberattacks, addressing complexities and building resilience becomes paramount. The journey toward effective cyber risk management requires a strategic approach, continuous innovation, and a commitment to safeguarding patient well-being. 

With MetricStream CyberGRC, your organization can: 

  • Gain a unified view of cyber risks, compliance, policies, and issues 
  • Automate cyber risk and compliance management 
  • Accurately quantify cyber risk exposure in monetary terms 
  • Efficiently monitor and remediate threats and vulnerabilities 
  • Streamline third-party risk management from onboarding to offboarding 
  • Harmonize controls across multiple standards and frameworks 
  • Enable continuous control monitoring for improved compliance and security 
  • Simplify cyber policy creation, attestation, roll-out, and monitoring

Our latest eBook explores these questions and provides comprehensive insights to guide healthcare organizations toward a more secure future.

For a more detailed perspective on this topic, download our eBook:healthcare-cyber-risk-management-strip

Pat McParland

Patricia McParland AVP – Marketing

Pat McParland is AVP of Product Marketing at MetricStream. She is responsible for creating product messaging, product go-to-market plans, and analyzing market trends for MetricStream's cyber compliance and third party risk product lines. Pat has more than 25 years of financial data and technology marketing experience at Fortune 1000 brands as well as startups and has led product and marketing teams at Dow Jones and Dun & Bradstreet. She has a BA from the College of William and Mary and lives in Summit, New Jersey.


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