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CloudWave 2023 Predictions: Ransomware Threats, Physician Burnout and the Need for Whole Hospital Security will Fuel Growth of Multi-Cloud Architectures


Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2023.  Read them in this 15th annual series exclusive.

Ransomware Threats, Physician Burnout and the Need for Whole Hospital Security will Fuel Growth of Multi-Cloud Architectures

By Erik Littlejohn, president and CEO, CloudWave

The nature of the current economy is such that we will continue to face global inflation and supply chain issues in 2023. It's a different world post-pandemic, and yesterday's assumptions about being able to negotiate with hardware providers to get better pricing and immediate delivery is no longer the norm. At the same time, critical institutions such as hospitals continue to face increased financial pressures.

As a result, CIOs and IT teams need to begin planning projects earlier to account for things outside of their control such as supply chain issues and rising costs and be prepared to take a more flexible and proactive approach. Here are four related predictions that will affect the healthcare market in 2023.

Increased Protection is Needed in the Fight Against Ransomware and Cybersecurity Threats

As the frequency of cyberattacks continues to increase and with more devastating results, many hospitals are moving away from a reactive technology approach to proactively implementing new tools to help mitigate ransomware attacks and other cybersecurity threats.

As part of this initiative, IT teams must implement more advanced cybersecurity protections and have a clear understanding of the ROI. For example, in modern ransomware attacks, existing backups are now infected along with the primary production environment as malicious actors understand that the ability to restore a valid backup is the best way to foil their plans to disrupt operations and extort ransom.

This has led to a growth in technologies such as immutable backups to provide a standalone copy that is locked to prohibit edits. Another trend driving hospitals to be more proactive in making technology investments, particularly related to security, is that insurance companies are taking a deeper look at processes and procedures. Insurers are beginning to mandate this new level of protection with an increased focus on securing core infrastructure.

Therefore, if a catastrophic event occurs where a healthcare organization's primary and secondary data centers are corrupted, this third copy-the immutable backup-can be restored much quicker than working around corrupted primary and secondary copies. This becomes a critical element in recovering from a ransomware attack.

Whole-Hospital Security will be Necessary, Including Securing Medical Devices in Addition to Core Infrastructure

Most healthcare security programs and regulations focus on protecting data and more traditional IT assets, which is undoubtedly one of the most critical areas for data protection. However, in today's evolving threat landscape, attackers have increasingly become more sophisticated and cyberattacks on connected medical devices (such as infusion pumps, pacemakers, etc.) are increasing.

Medical device security is not an area that many IT teams have traditionally prioritized, but 2023 will change that as it becomes one of the next significant threats with direct and immediate patient safety ramifications. Core infrastructure protection technologies will increasingly need to be extended to end-user devices with an increased focus on medical device security.

Faulty IT Systems will Contribute to Clinician Burnout

Frustration with IT system stability and workflows has a direct effect on clinician burnout, turnover, and patient experience. 2023 will bring a revitalized need to focus on sustainable/reliable methods to ensure a care team's time is prioritized. This can only be achieved with sustainable IT systems that operate better with the needs of providers and provide a consistent level of performance.

For example, in a downtime event caused by cyber threats, clinicians often must revert to paper records. We have become so reliant on EHRs that the impact of not being able to do business as usual creates tremendous difficulty and makes it harder to access information to provide consistent, quality care. The protection of healthcare infrastructure must extend to ensure security for the entirety of the environment, resulting in less disruption for clinicians. 

A Continued Evolution of the Cloud

Interest in the cloud has been steadily growing for years. Contributing factors include the economic environment, supply chain disruptions, and rising costs, and will continue to push technology out of local data centers into the cloud.

As more healthcare institutions adopt the cloud, it is also becoming more accepted. However, as the evolution continues, it is critical for healthcare IT teams to realize that the cloud is not a one size fits all approach, and every environment is unique. The public cloud doesn't come with an IT team, it still needs to be actively managed by people with healthcare experience.

This has created growth in edge solutions that provide a fully managed cloud experience across environments, and including blended workloads that utilize on-premises, private, and public cloud resources to meet specific performance requirements.




Erik Littlejohn is the president and chief executive officer of CloudWave.  Erik oversees the operations and delivery of cloud-based managed services and cybersecurity solutions, with the goal of creating value and driving digital transformation for our healthcare customers. Erik brings a deep understanding of healthcare information technology implementation and operations. Before joining CloudWave, Erik served in a variety of positions within Perot Systems and Dell with responsibility for technology integration, program and project management, business operations, and IT support. Erik earned a Bachelor's degree from the United States Military Academy and a Master of Business Administration from Virginia Tech.

Published Friday, December 23, 2022 7:38 AM by David Marshall
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