Fraud Management & Cybercrime , Healthcare , Industry Specific

Getting a Handle on Cyberthreats Facing Rural Hospitals

Fortified Health Security's Kate Pierce on Challenges for Small Healthcare Entities
Kate Pierce, virtual information security officer, Fortified Health Security

Cybercriminals are increasingly preying on small hospitals, often in rural communities, knowing that security defenses at these facilities are often much weaker than those at larger institutions.

A rural Illinois medical system that shut down today said the closing is partially due to fallout from a 2021 ransomware incident - and staff shortages. Kate Pierce, cybersecurity officer and former long-time CIO and CISO at a 25-bed community hospital in Vermont, said, "It's becoming really challenging for these small facilities to be able to keep up."

See Also: Securing Healthcare: Minimizing Risk in an Ever-Changing Threat Landscape

Small facilities face two major obstacles: finding, developing and retaining talent to keep up with the ever-growing cyberthreats and being prepared to respond to attacks, Pierce said in an interview with Information Security Media Group.

"Rural facilities aren't as robust as larger facilities, or they haven't properly exercised their ability to recover through their incident response plans," said Pierce, who now works as a virtual information security officer at Fortified Health Security. "They just don't have the staffing to double down on it."

In this interview with Information Security Media Group, Pierce also discussed:

Pierce has over two decades of experience in healthcare. She focuses on small, rural and not-for-profit healthcare organizations. Prior to joining Fortified Health, Pierce was longtime CIO and CISO at North Country Hospital in Vermont.

About the Author

Marianne Kolbasuk McGee

Marianne Kolbasuk McGee

Executive Editor, HealthcareInfoSecurity, ISMG

McGee is executive editor of Information Security Media Group's media site. She has about 30 years of IT journalism experience, with a focus on healthcare information technology issues for more than 15 years. Before joining ISMG in 2012, she was a reporter at InformationWeek magazine and news site and played a lead role in the launch of InformationWeek's healthcare IT media site.

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