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Rapid shifts to the cloud may leave organisations at higher risk of cyber threats

Global healthcare organisations (HCOs) have accelerated their spending on cloud migration, but many may be over-estimating their ability to protect these environments, according to a new study from cyber security firm Trend Micro. 

Trend Micro commissioned Sapio Research to survey more than 2,500 IT decision makers in 28 countries across several industry sectors, including healthcare. The results show that 88% of healthcare organisations have accelerated their cloud adoption because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and resulting business and economic fallout.

The survey reveals remote working, cost savings and improved IT agility were three main reasons for the switch to cloud-based infrastructure.

Rapid shifts to the cloud may leave organisations at higher risk of cyber threats, the cyber security firm says. 

According to the Trend Micro study, there are four main challenges HCOs reportedly faced when moving to cloud-based environments:

  • Skills shortages: 43% revealed that skills gaps are a persistent barrier to migrating to cloud security solutions.
  • Day-to-day operations: Setting and maintaining policies (34%), patching and vulnerability management (32%), and misconfigurations (32%) were challenges of protecting cloud workloads.
  • Increased costs: 43% have spent more on capital expenses and paying for contracted out services, while 39% have spent more on operational and training costs since migrating.
  • Security responsibility: Just 40% are confident they secure their part of the Shared Responsibility Model.

Trend Micro says that while cloud migration isn’t simple, it can be enabled and improved using the right security tools.

“Security is another aspect of building well, not a separate function. And security controls help teams build better in the cloud,” says Ashley Watkins, vice president, commercial, Australia and New Zealand.

“Security can be an accelerator for building in the cloud. Using the right tools and understanding the platforms you’re using is key to making that happen.”

Accoring to Trend Micro, the healthcare sector has been on the frontline in the struggle against COVID-19, and digital transformation can make a positive impact on productivity and patient care during this time of critical need.

However, it is essential that the broader attack surface of an expanded digital infrastructure is given due consideration, it says.

"With the right cloud-ready solutions in place, HCOs can maximise cloud benefits without putting mission-critical systems or patient data at risk," says Watkins.

"Such tools can also minimise skills challenges by spotting misconfigurations, automating patching and policy management, and integrating security into DevOps, across both cloud and on-premise environments."

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