“Make it so.”—Captain Picard, “Star Trek: The Next Generation”
Those were the magic words I loved hearing as a nerdy “Star Trek” fan seeing the next adventure unfold—an adventure inevitably wrapped in advanced technology, strength, and fortitude of the human spirit.
Perhaps that’s why I find myself today working for a global technology company determined to help us use technology to power our world positively and in a sustainable manner.
Technology continues to be a huge part of our industry, from diagnostics to treatment to improving overall health. It also has become an essential healthcare resource for many individuals. We query our “symptoms” via smartphone, test out digital health assistants while exploring treatment options, and wear Fitbits to track our daily activity. We’ve seen incredible, infinitely detailed new images of our “insides.” Then there’s the world of genomics, which has the potential to forever change our world. And the list goes on.
But it’s not just health care. Technology is infused into every aspect of everyday living, from our cars to our tablets to our smartphones to millions of apps. Access to data is easy, expected, and required to compete in this bold new world. That’s why this issue is dedicated to the topic.
With all the available information, however, comes the concern over cybersecurity. Risks and threats are everywhere in the digital world. They’re growing exponentially and are increasingly diverse and complex. The potential for financial, reputational, and brand damage has elevated the issue to a board-level concern.
And the bad guys are getting smarter. They love healthcare data because it is easy to access and can be sold for a high margin.
Recent statistics tell the story of the impact on our industry:
- There’s been a 10-fold increase in security vulnerabilities over the past five years due to migration to mobile. a
- In 2015, attackers were present on a victim’s network a median of 146 days before being discovered. b
- The average cost of data center downtime in the wake of such an incident was $7,900 per minute. c
There’s no question that data is the new currency. It’s valuable, and we have the responsibility to protect it on behalf of our patients and our organizations. We must make it so, if we’re to thrive as we embrace technology to boldly go where no man has gone before.
a. Ponemon Institute Research, 2012
b. Dubsky, L., M-Trends 2016: A View From the Front Lines, FireEye, 2016.
c. Ponemon Institute, 2013 Cost of Data Center Power Outages , research report, sponsored by Emerson Power network, December 2013.