Healthcare cybersecurity continues to be a critical concern. Per the latest stats reported by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) on November 17, 2023, between January 1 and October 31, more than 82.6 million healthcare records were exposed or impermissibly disclosed, and more than 100 million records were breached to date. In response to these trends, healthcare organizations are increasing their cybersecurity spending. Allied Market Research reports that the healthcare cybersecurity market will grow from $12.85 billion in 2020 to $57.25 billion in 2030, a 16.3% CAGR. And some of that spending will be on Security as a Service solutions.
Security as a Service Drivers in the Healthcare Vertical
There are several reasons healthcare providers, from large healthcare systems to small physicians’ practices, are outsourcing cybersecurity. First, because their primary focus is patient care, not IT and cybersecurity, they seek experts, like managed security service providers (MSSPs), to handle security. An MSSP can function as a healthcare organization’s virtual CISO, using its knowledge of the threat landscape, the range of available security products, and experience working with other clients to deploy the best solutions to protect them.
Other factors in a healthcare provider’s decision to outsource IT security could include:
- Budget: Healthcare organizations are constantly trying to make the best use of their resources. Using an MSSP’s services can be cost-effective in addressing cybersecurity rather than hiring in-house staff.
- IT security talent shortage: If a healthcare organization does choose to hire security professionals, the next hurdle is finding them. The IT talent shortage, especially in security, continues, and demand far exceeds supply.
- Regulatory compliance: Healthcare is strictly regulated, and for good reason. First, everyone from insurance providers, consumers and Medtech vendors interacts with the hospital. This, along with the need to comply with PCI, is why healthcare facilities need an MSSP that can provide a comprehensive strategy to protect data.
- Support as they scale: Hospital acquisitions are common, but from a security standpoint, they require new ways to manage solutions. Having a provider take on the project and standardize security protocols is easier.
Step One: Educate Yourself and Your Team
There’s little doubt that there is a market for Security as a Service in healthcare and other verticals, but it’s not always straightforward how to build a compelling offering. MSPs know they could lose business if they don’t know the ins and outs of security, but they may not know where to begin.
MSPs must expand their focus on firewalls and antivirus to address a broader scope, including managing cloud security, mobile devices, and applications. They also need to raise users’ security awareness.
Although partnering with a vendor can provide you and your team opportunities to learn, a vendor may teach around their products, giving you only a limited view of the security space. Taking a broader perspective and learning about all available security solutions is vital.
MSPs have busy schedules and may struggle to find the time for security education and research. However, self-paced online courses are available and are well worth the time. In addition, educating your team can ensure that if a client asks a security question, your staff can answer it rather than losing the customer’s trust and, possibly, their business.
Encouraging your team to expand their expertise in security may also provide your business with the benefits of keeping employees engaged and improving employee retention.
Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
MSPs who want to learn more about offering Security as a Service should consider memberships in industry organizations such as The ASCII Group. Memberships provide networking opportunities, certification discounts, and events offering excellent learning potential. Joining is especially valuable for those new to security.
Specifically, to provide Security as a Service to healthcare, MSPs should work with experienced, reputable vendors who offer HIPAA security risk assessments or other relevant services. In addition, a professional partner will be a valuable resource for information and networking as you build this part of your business.
It’s Not a Transition. It’s an Addition.
While there may be some underlying fear when MSPs look at “transitioning” to the role of MSSP, it’s better to think of it as adding the security piece to your practice rather than changing your entire business. Taking a new perspective that includes addressing the cybersecurity needs of your clients and prospects will help protect them and help your business grow.