Letter from the Editor

Contributed by:

Taren Grom, Editor

NOTE: The content below contains the first few paragraphs of the printed article and the titles of the sidebars and boxes, if applicable.

Password protected?

How secure is your healthcare and other online data? Well, across the globe it’s clear that healthcare information continues to be fertile ground for cybercriminals. According to HIPAA Journal, there was a 40.63% increase in reported data breaches of 500 or more healthcare records in February 2021. Additionally, 45 data breaches were reported to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights by healthcare providers, health plans, and their business associates in February, the majority of which were hacking incidents.

In broader context, according to ForgeRock, data breaches and malicious attacks continue to grow as organizations recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impact of these breaches extends beyond the bottom line.

In this month’s cover story, our community of experts weigh in on the consequences of data privacy and protecting patients and their data, as well as employee data.

Scott Taylor, chief privacy officer in Merck’s Ethics & Compliance Office, agrees that the data privacy field has been going through unprecedented challenges. “Globalization, coupled with greater computing power, advanced analytics and algorithms, observational data, and more ubiquitous data sharing due to digital ecosystems, has not only strained traditional tenets of privacy laws and regulations, but has resulted in an overall erosion of trust among many data subjects,” he says.

Unfortunately, this loss of trust couldn’t come at a worse time, given the complications of COVID-19. Patients and organizations alike need to trust that their information is secure.
According to ForgeRock, the healthcare industry was the most targeted, accounting for 43% of breaches. Medical details were the most targeted data type in first quarter 2020, accounting for 25% of breaches. Healthcare also presents unique challenges due to the extent of sensitive data being shared in the complex and multi-partner clinical process. For example, ForgeRock reports last year the U.K.’s NHS blocked nearly 12,000 phishing attacks a day.

ForgeRock analysts say part of the increase in data breaches is because consumers are leveraging their digital identity more than ever for online activities to maintain their daily lives, for everything from remote access to work applications to ordering groceries or takeout delivery. ForgeRock estimates that U.S. breaches cost more than $1.8 trillion with more than 7.8 billion consumer records exposed over the last two years.

Alpesh Patel, chief technology officer at Orbita, notes a major element of the COVID-19 pandemic has involved the rapid transition in work settings from physical offices to remote, work-from-home environments. “The percentage of employees working from home has increased from 33% to 61% throughout the pandemic,” he says. “This has required significant changes to accommodate the new normal and highlights the need for many organizations to reevaluate how their data is protected and close any existing security gaps.”

I, for one, am changing my security protocols, and will scrap the sticky note on my computer with all my passwords. How about you?

Taren Grom, Editor


Their word…

Robin Robinson
Senior Editor

During the pandemic, drug makers forged ahead and faced the challenges and gained the benefits of virtual launches.

Kim Ribbink
Senior Editor

Women are leading the way in the pharmaceutical industry and we are delighted to showcase some incredible leaders in their fields.

Carolyn Gretton
Features Editor

As we give digital devices more of our health information, and third-party companies gain more access to that data, there needs to be an evolution in existing data privacy regulations to better protect that information.


Coming in May

Modernizing Media Strategies
Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association’s Rising Stars and
Patient Recruitment
Medical Education
Chief Creative Officers
Brand Building
Connected & IoT Health



The forum for the industry executive

Volume 21 • Number 4
Publisher Lisa Banket
Editor Taren Grom
Creative Director Marah Walsh

Senior Editors
Robin Robinson
Kim Ribbink

Features Editor
Carolyn Gretton

Design Associate
Ariel Medel

National Account Manager
Suzanne Besse

National Account Representative
Amy Bishop

Webcast Network Producer
Daniel Limbach

Circulation Assistant
Kathy Deiuliis

Copyright 2021
by PharmaLinx LLC, Titusville, NJ
Printed in the U.S.A.
Volume Twenty One, Number Four

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