Healthcare, Legal, and Real Estate Sectors are Vulnerable to Cyberattacks and Data Breaches

Why Private Practices and Small Businesses Need to Invest in and Leverage Contracts with Managed Service Providers

Cyber Security Keyboard

Data breaches are now becoming commonplace in the healthcare, legal, and real estate sectors. A significant number of these cyberattacks happen because many of these organizations or businesses are resistant to investing heavily on appropriate information technology (IT) security, especially small-time private practices or small businesses.

Digitalization and data sharing have continuously been on the rise. As a consequence, cyberthreats have understandably become ever more sophisticated, evolving nonstop. And, no longer are these cyberthreats being carried out by bit hackers; rather, they can be state-run or syndicate-wide.

What’s keeping these healthcare, legal, and real estate sectors from allocating more financial resources and capital to their data protection? In short, money.

Perhaps it is because these certain doctors, physicians, lawyers, and realtors are caught up in their professions’ respective rat races and their industries’ past history, wherein they prefer to line their personal pockets for the purpose of enjoying a particular high standard of living. Thus, they rashly choose to pay themselves first to enjoy the “good life,” in lieu of responsibly earmarking funds toward their small business’s InfoSec needs. Unfortunately, that obsolescent or throwback mindset is blinding them to the current cybersecurity vulnerabilities landscape, where machines, networks, and systems must all be patched up and highly secured to meet regulatory compliances.

For example, according to the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), less than 6% of a healthcare organization’s budget is allocated to IT, or to the requisite cybersecurity measures that would monitor and patch up vulnerabilities, or to even mitigate ransomware attack. And, while all healthcare organizations are federally mandated to be Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant, very few are current on their compliance, often leaving the issue to some future transition time.

Like former Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan as well as business magnate Warren Buffett observing obscure indicators to gauge market performance, similar to the proverbial canaries in the coal mines, so, too, is there a telltale sign prognosticating whether specific small-time healthcare, legal, or real estate companies are (in)adequately shoring up capital or funds to protect themselves from cyberattacks. What is it? It all comes down to whether these healthcare, legal, and real estate entities are dedicated enough to request the latest cybersecurity offerings from their managed services provider (MSP).

Typically, small-time healthcare, legal, and real estate organizations and businesses do either one of two things. One, they hire their own single IT technician. Or, two, they seek an MSP only for break-fix solutions as they arise. On both counts, the small-time healthcare, legal, and real estate company is just looking for the cheapest way out, and the cheapest way out translates as minimal investment in cybersecurity.

Say, the company has a single IT technician – what is there to worry about? That single IT technician might not be up-to-date with the latest technology. Instead, he only operates with the technology he is most comfortable with, which is essentially just a simple bandage solution. When his simple bandage solution fails, the company is then forced to seek out an MSP. And what do MSPs usually find with the work of that single IT technician that preceded them? His work was below par.

So what does the small-time company do next with this external MSP they’ve now hired to replace their single IT technician? The MSP will likely have higher rates than the single IT technician that had previously been hired, so the company will at first only utilize the MSP for break-fix solutions as they arise.

What’s wrong with being a break-fix client? Companies who are break-fix clients tend to have the mistaken impression that they are a priority for the MSP. That is not the case. A good MSP, with many clients, will more than likely prioritize those clients who have signed contracts, whereas the break-fix client will only be addressed when the day’s schedule is available.

Sadly, companies that are new to hiring MSPs tend to hunt around for the “least expensive” MSP, which is more than likely one that isn’t seasoned, but rather limited in scope, expertise, or traction. These “cheap” MSPs therefore offer lower costs just to land unsuspecting clients. To the untrained eye, the “cheap” rates seem to connote economical bargain prices, but don’t be misled. In the MSP industry, “cheap” price tags portend inexperience or second-rate standards. These “cheap” MSPs might not even be up-to-speed with mainstream, much less the latest, technologies.

Conceivably, the technicians on their team or payroll aren’t the most high quality, nor experienced, nor knowledgeable in the industry. Quality work demands and deserves quality dollar. Hence, any company should beware those MSPs that are “happy” to take on mere break-fix clients – for that means these MSPs’ services portfolio might, in all likelihood, be inadequate, amateurish, or meager when it comes to protecting against the more serious cyberattacks out there.

What’s a small healthcare, legal, or real estate entity to do therefore? Opt for contracting with a quality MSP to handle all cybersecurity needs.

When hiring an MSP, make sure to research (1) the length of time they have been in business, (2) the reviews they’ve had, (3) their cybersecurity experience, (4) the expertise of their technicians, engineers, and IT security specialists, (5) the length of time they’ve retained their customers, (6) the MSP’s reputation in the community, and (7) the sustainable increase in numbers of both employees as well as customers.

Moreover, top-notch MSPs will have enough revenues to hire competent technicians, engineers, and IT security specialists. And, IT in the modern world is just as relevant, in-demand, and exacting as medicine and law. In other words, healthcare, legal, and real estate companies should not skimp on investments in contracts with MSPs.

Essentially, these healthcare, legal, and real estate companies should view investment in IT infrastructure and security as necessary and worth the high value top-dollar budget needed to counteract any cyberattack possibility and protect business-critical data because those risks can no longer be ignored, dismissed, nor belittled. After all, Cybersecurity Ventures’ CyberCrime Magazine has reported that the cybersecurity market will burgeon from $120 billion into the trillions in this new decade. So, if the big league players are looking to invest heavily in the cybersecurity market, then small-time healthcare, legal, and real estate businesses should, too.