Healthcare, Compliance and the Cybersecurity Skills Gap

By Ashley Hernandez, Product Marketing Manager

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Few industries are more affected by the cybersecurity skills gap than the healthcare industry. The shift to remote work, combined with increased avenues for telehealth, has had an acutely painful effect on security teams in healthcare – who, in addition to securing their own business and employee data, need to protect highly sensitive patient data and the critical systems upon which patient care relies. And while it is difficult to find security talent in every industry these days, it’s even more difficult to find security professionals who understand the unique compliance needs in healthcare.

What’s more, healthcare organizations are notorious for having on-prem legacy systems that require a unique skill set. Healthcare is one of those industries where security professionals may need expertise in very industry-specific systems, old and new. 

According to the 2022 AT&T Cybersecurity Insight Report, “Legacy cybersecurity controls—those with traditional on-premises architectures–still remain at the backbone of healthcare cybersecurity at many organizations.” With a limited pool of experts in these systems, healthcare organizations are then faced with understaffed teams handling too much work, experiencing alert fatigue and burnout – a recipe for increased security risk.

So, how does healthcare bridge this gap? One of the fastest and most affordable ways is to leverage Managed Detection and Response services (MDR). Where an existing team may focus on specialized legacy system strategies, MDR services can extend detection and response capabilities to include hybrid cloud initiatives or endpoint detection and device vulnerabilities. Let’s look at the challenges in finding and retaining healthcare security talent, and where MDR services are particularly helpful in this sector.

Healthcare Fatigue and Security

Almost three years into the pandemic, everyone in healthcare is stressed more than ever. Security teams must not only manage an avalanche of alerts from Active Directory, firewalls and other IT sources, they must also support mission critical hardware such as patient care devices or lab equipment. And they must do all of it while maintaining strict privacy controls.

While we often talk about alert fatigue in our industry, in healthcare, the ability to reliably deliver patient care (including critical care) is at stake. With literally billions of logs to contend with, from networks to IoT, healthcare security analysts must refine their search for threats or be buried beneath the effort. To reduce the volume of alerts while staying on top of threats, it takes adequate enrichment, contextualization and threat analysis. Increasing the fidelity of alerts is key to alleviating healthcare security teams and enable them to focus more on responding and containing threats faster. 

MDR services can quickly reduce alert fatigue through mature detection and response capabilities and ensure your team operates on only the most accurate, actionable information. Choose an MDR provider that offers enriched data analysis and strategies to reduce noise. One of the fastest ways to reduce fatigue is to stop wasting energy on false positives.

Security and Compliance

Security and compliance are not the same. One must ensure the protection of assets and data, while the other must ensure that a host of security and privacy requirements are implemented and auditable. While intermingled and closely related, each area still has its own requirements and actions. Healthcare security professionals must therefore manage programs that provide visibility into requirements met for each, adding additional layers of accountability. 

The pressures of regulatory compliance creates an overwhelming balancing act for security teams in healthcare. Leaders must weigh the costs associated with HIPAA fines and breach reporting against the cost of finding resources that understand compliance. An MDR service provider can help healthcare security teams focus on compliance by taking on enterprise security aspects, while in-house teams focus on their overall security program or annual audit activities. In implementing the security controls, MDR partners can also aid in compliance reporting.

Why Prioritize MDR Services in Healthcare?

Any healthcare organization struggling to find skilled talent should consider MDR services as a fast, cost-effective solution to protecting their environment. Because threats like ransomware are growing in volume and complexity, teams must find creative ways to do more, to educate themselves, and to communicate better. The right MDR provider will identify those security efforts that have the most impact, and help you find ways to increase visibility. 

One of the fastest ways to proactively mature a healthcare SOC is through an MDR partner. Choose one that can provide 24/7/365 security monitoring to extend coverage of your team and reduce fatigue. Choose an MDR provider that is a natural extension of your internal SOC, one that is responsive and understands the reporting and visibility requirements of HIPAA.

For more information, check out Deepwatch’s additional resources on MDR for healthcare:


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