When the Health Minister of Ireland, Stephen Donnelly, visited Toronto, he brought together a group of experienced Ontario healthcare industry leaders and disrupters to discuss security vulnerabilities healthcare organizations are facing today and what can be done to build a more cyber-resilient healthcare industry. Pravine Balkaran, head of cybersecurity consulting at Calian, attended the roundtable.

Many of the challenges in cybersecurity for healthcare are ubiquitous in wealthy countries like Ireland and Canada. These nations face complex infrastructure challenges around patient care and data, making them a target for hackers wanting to make a quick buck. Wealthy nations can pay a ransom, can meet most hacker demands, and have the most to lose if a breach is successful.

It was insightful to have two countries share their concerns around such a sensitive topic. No country’s healthcare systems are immune to greed. In fact, healthcare is a goldmine for cyber criminals who feed off panic and frenzy at the prospect of precious patient health information being leaked to the world.

What preventative actions can wealthy countries, such as Ireland and Canada, take collectively to improve cyber resilience?

  1. Collaborate and share best practices and strategies among key stakeholders and health ministers. Work together to block bad actors.
  2. Outline programs that support hospital investments in cyber resiliency, making it a government-supported and backed initiative that doesn’t solely lay in the hands of clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions.
  3. Build out internal policies in the technical infrastructure to mitigate the impact of attacks on patient healthcare. Policies should be proactive and include a plan and schedule to address known vulnerabilities. Implement activities such as penetration testing and vulnerability assessments twice a year or quarterly if bandwidth allows.
  4. Monitor, track and be on alert 24x7x365. Implementing a robust framework and following your government’s agenda for cybersecurity will go a long way in safeguarding your environment.

Following the discussion, which included fantastic insights and perspectives from both countries, there was a networking and St. Patty’s Day celebration lunch at Bymark in Toronto. Not many healthcare experts in Toronto will be able to say they celebrated St Patty’s Day with the Minister of Healthcare for Ireland…but these folks can!

Thank you to Enterprise Ireland for supporting this engagement. And thank you to the Minister for Health of Ireland, Stephen Donnelly, for visiting Canada on St. Patrick’s Day as part of the Department of Foreign Affairs’ and Global Ireland celebration of St. Patrick’s Day—100 Years of Ireland in the World.

This site is registered on wpml.org as a development site. Switch to a production site key to remove this banner.