IT Security Measures for Biotech and Medical Device Companies 2023

The use of technology in healthcare provides numerous benefits, including enhanced patient care, efficiency, and improved communication. However, biotech and medical device companies face many cybersecurity threats that warrant the implementation of strong IT security measures. According to Forbes, 53% of organizations in the biotech and pharmaceutical sector have suffered different types of cyberattacks. In addition, 53% of connected medical devices contain exploitable security weaknesses, largely due to the failure of biotech and healthcare companies to implement sufficient security measures. Robust IT security measures are necessary and crucial to preventing life-threatening attacks.

Importance of IT security measures

Evotech, a German biotech company, suffered a cyberattack in April 2023. The IT intrusion caused the company to shut down its systems, disrupting crucial operations and services. Also, Sun Pharma, a multinational pharmaceutical company, disclosed a ransomware attack in March 2023. The attack compromised the company’s file and IT systems causing prolonged outages and disruptions. In a separate incident, Alliance Healthcare experienced an attack that shut down its ordering processes, billing systems, and website. This disrupted Spain’s drug delivery supply chain.

These and many other attacks targeting biotech and medical device companies reveal the sector’s vulnerability, highlighting the urgent need for robust IT security measures. Besides, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) enforced a law this year that requires companies manufacturing medical devices to demonstrate a solid cybersecurity plan and implement measures to protect against attacks.

Implementing IT Security Measures

  • Security information and event management (SIEM)

SIEM systems provide proactive threat detection. In particular, they collect and analyze logs and security events. As such, they provide real-time visibility into potential security incidents or anomalies. Therefore, implementing SIEM can assist medical device and biotech companies to quickly identify cyberattacks, unusual patterns, or suspicious activities, allowing them to respond promptly and effectively.

  • Threat intelligence tools

Threat intelligence tools are effective and reliable security measures that biotech and medical device companies should consider. In particular, threat intelligence entails gathering information about potential cyber threats, including emerging malware, vulnerabilities, and attack techniques. Hence, it ensures companies are always updated on their threat landscape. Threat intelligence also provides proactive defense against targeted cyberattacks. For example, it helps protect against zero-day attacks, targeted malware campaigns, and sophisticated phishing attempts.

  • Endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions

EDR solutions can help biotech and medical device companies to protect their vast endpoints. Specifically, companies use EDR solutions to monitor and analyze endpoint activities. Also, EDR systems identify suspicious behavior, respond to threats, and prevent data breaches. Deploying EDR enables companies to enhance their ability to detect advanced threats and respond swiftly to potential compromises.

  • Penetration testing

Penetration testing simulates attacks on a company’s systems and infrastructure to identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses. With cyberattacks targeting biotech, pharmaceutical, and medical device companies on the rise, they need to assess the effectiveness of their security controls. Penetration testing can help them identify potential vulnerabilities and strengthen their defenses. Penetration testing is a useful security measure that helps prevent the exploitation of known vulnerabilities, unauthorized access, and data breaches.