October 25, 2022

How to find cybersecurity leaders and specialists for healthcare companies and systems

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The competitive battle for cybersecurity talent requires healthcare organizations to be nimble, resourceful, and more diligent than ever. The shortage of cybersecurity professionals predates the pandemic, but continues to pose a serious and sustained threat to healthcare companies and systems, creating a potential threat to public health.

According to a recent report in VentureBeat, “Patient and enterprise data is a precious commodity — and cybercriminals are increasingly exploiting inadequately prepared facilities to get to it. What’s more, the proliferation of internet of things (IoT) devices is expanding the attack surface and creating new avenues for patient data breaches.”

These data breaches are increasing in scope and number. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there were a reported 429 cyberattacks targeting healthcare organizations during the first eight months of 2022. That includes hacking, thefts, unauthorized access/exposure, and other IT incidents.

These attacks have exposed millions of patient, client, and employee records.

For the organizations that have fallen victim to a cyberattack, the consequences are significant, often in the millions of dollars. There are considerable financial costs to identifying, mitigating, reporting, and responding to the attacks. In addition, institutions risk major reputational harm from cyberattacks that can cause long-term damage and a loss of business.

Why Healthcare is a Cyberattack Target

For healthcare organizations, the challenges of maintaining sound cybersecurity systems and teams are complex. There is a need to protect myriad hospital systems and platforms, many of which contain and share sensitive information about patients, staff, vendors, and partners. The ever-expanding base of patients, customers, and services offered means there’s more data constantly in need of protection.

These organizations often rely on third-party partners for many services, technologies, and solutions. Each of those components and partner relationships means more exposure, more need for strong security, and more risk.

Today, technology is making considerable strides toward improving how healthcare is delivered. For example, connected devices – from monitors to symptom trackers – provide invaluable insights for patients and clinicians. However, those devices, connected to wireless networks, all face the risk of sensitive data being collected and transmitted. In addition, the devices themselves can be hacked and made to operate in a dangerous manner, adding to enterprise cybersecurity challenges.

It is also the case that some of those technologies are dated, with many organizations relying on legacy systems that are inefficient and costly to maintain and upgrade (if even possible). Constrained budgets, affected by reduced revenue due to the pandemic and lower demand, often mean fewer resources committed to upgrading and replacing technologies that have run their course.

Compliance also plays a role. Organizations bound by complex and extensive regulatory mandates need to ensure that technologies provide the proper tracking and reporting tools. Failure to maintain proper IT and data compliance can result in costly fines and penalties.

Addressing the Demand for Cybersecurity Talent

These expanding cyber risks are increasing the necessity for hospitals, health systems, and other healthcare organizations to build out their cybersecurity teams with talented leaders and specialists who understand the complexity of the threats and the strategies and tactics needed to counteract them.

Yet, finding the talent necessary to fill all the open cybersecurity positions is nearly impossible. According to Gartner’s 2021-2023 Emerging Technology Roadmap, IT executives consider the shortage of talent to be one of the biggest challenges facing their organizations. A recent study by the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) indicated that 95 percent of respondents believe the skills shortage and related impacts have not improved.

Why is there such an issue with finding cybersecurity talent? The ISSA report notes several factors:

  • A lack of competitive and fair compensation: Poor compensation has made it difficult for organizations to recruit talent, and better compensation elsewhere is a key driver for leaders leaving their current organization.
  • Poor investments in cybersecurity training: IT professionals noted that there is a persistent need for professional development and training at all levels.
  • Misalignment of business value: There continues to be a lack of understanding between HR and IT departments on the skills necessary for cybersecurity positions, resulting in many candidates being excluded or rejected from searches.

Cyber professionals themselves are facing many challenges today. There are long hours and an always-changing myriad of threats, with new challenges emerging daily. Combatting these threats can take its toll on cybersecurity teams – leading to burnout and high levels of stress that can exacerbate existing staffing shortages. The shift to remote work, and the inherent security challenges posed by remote employees, adds an additional layer of complexity.

At Wolf Hill Group, we help businesses in all sectors place talented, qualified leaders and specialists in a wide range of cybersecurity positions. As a national executive search firm, Wolf Hill Group focuses exclusively on cybersecurity. A Slone Partners company, Wolf Hill Group works across the healthcare sector, placing cybersecurity leaders and specialists in hospitals, health systems, and other health-related organizations. It is our job to deliver exceptional talent.

By partnering with Wolf Hill Group, your organization will leverage our vast network of talented candidates and networks. We deliver seasoned, knowledgeable, diverse candidates ready to lead and innovate within your healthcare organization. Consider partnering with us for your next cybersecurity talent search.  

Contact us today to learn more about how we can work together to build out your cybersecurity teams!

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