Cyberthreats heavy on the minds of health provider, insurer technology execs

CIOs and chief information security officers must develop myriad innovations and approaches to outwit "the wolves at their cyberdoor," according to the 2015 IT Priorities Survey by Protiviti, a risk and business consulting firm.

Priorities placed on cybersecurity and privacy have grown greatly for the 2015 survey, the authors say, even as companies undergo major transformations when it comes to information technology. About 1,000 CIOs, IT vice presidents and IT directors participated in the study; 6 percent of them hailed from healthcare provider organizations and another 2 percent represented health insurance companies.

Cybersecurity is one of the things that all CIOs are concerned about, especially in the healthcare industry.

Mark Kilborn, CIO at Springhill Medical Center in Mobile, Alabama, recently told FierceHealthIT that security concerns keep him up at night. "[It] is a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week endeavor. The threat is out there, it's real," he said.

Some of the key findings the study's authors highlight include:

  • IT transformation: Most organizations, 60 percent, say they are undergoing major IT transformation and expect it to last a year or longer. These transformations are meant to improve costs, create service assurance and comply to regulations.
  • Significant investment in security: IT is "doubling down on its efforts to strengthen security and privacy," the authors said. A majority of time, staff and technology will go toward specific security initiatives, according to the survey's respondents. Top priorities include advance detection of malware/viruses, monitoring security events and success of incident response.
  • Strong IT governance: IT also is focused on having an effective governance strategy, the report noted. Monitoring costs and benefits is at the top of the governance priority list, followed by alignment of IT business strategy and regulatory compliance.
  • Leadership collaboration: Working well with C-level and senior executives is also a top priority of IT groups. Strategic collaborations are key, inside and outside of the organization, the respondents said. "As the data within IT systems becomes more pivotal to strategic planning, IT professionals are seeking to solidify relationships with senior executives ... to help shape and safeguard these plans," the report's authors said.

Millions of healthcare consumers have been effected by security hacks discovered just this year--with attacks at health payers Premera and Anthem topping the list.

To learn more:
- check out the survey (.pdf)