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Biotech and Cyber Attacks

The past decade has seen unbelievable jumps forward in biotechnology.

Just this week, the FDA approved a cancer treatment that uses gene therapy. The world’s first vaccine for malaria will be introduced next year. And it’s only a matter of time before bionic prosthetics become commonplace.

With these advances, it’s no wonder that the biotech industry is facing incredible growth. In 2017, the global biotech industry is expected to reach $414.5 billion dollars. That’s nearly twice the industry’s worth in 2016.

But biotech isn’t all that’s been advancing…

Biotech and Cyber Attacks

Cyber attacks are also on the rise. And that spells serious trouble.

Protecting your company’s information is important in any industry. But in biotech, your information is your company.

If your biotech research gets into the wrong hands, it won’t just cause problems for your shareholders. That information can be twisted to develop bioweapons.

Obviously, you need to keep your research safely protected. And to do this, you need to get serious about biotech IT security.

In this article, we’ll look at the most recent developments in biotech and pharma security and how they impact your biotech IT security.

Ransomware on the Rise

One of the nastiest new methods of cyber-attacks is ransomware.

Unlike conventional viruses, which only disrupt software and corrupt data, ransomware is a bit more malicious.

Ransomware locks up your system or encrypts your files. In order to access your files, you must pay a hacker a hefty fee. If you do not up, your computer and all connected data remains useless.

One particularly prevalent ransomware is WannaCry. WannaCry made headlines earlier this year when the UK’s National Health Service found itself at the mercy of hackers.

WannaCry has already infected over 200,000 computers around the world, and despite early attempts to neutralize it, it remains one of the most serious cyber security threats on the planet.

Like most viruses, the easiest way to fight ransomware is to avoid downloading it altogether. However, if just one member of your staff doesn’t know what to watch out for or makes a simple mistake, it could put your entire company at risk.

In the biotech and pharma industries, you can’t afford to lose your data.

If you want to protect your biotech information, you need to develop a biotech IT security strategy that can cope with ransomware attacks.

Know where your assets are

It is easy when starting up to throw some data here, some there and figure at some point we will be large enough that we will need to keep better track of it.

Often key databases are managed properly from the start.  But key documents, contacts, processes and the like are often spread around systems all over the office.  Keeping track of them becomes impossible.  Add that so many are using laptops, many have Google and ICloud accounts – the data is spread across the cloud.

You need to map out what data you have.  Make decisions on where the data should be stored.  Decisions on who has what access.  How access is granted (the approval process), revoked and audited.

Have a tested Business Continuity process

Most people know that a backup is critical.  Engineers spend a lot of time and their company’s resources to put some form of backup in place.  Each of these solutions comes with costs (install and maintenance and a performance expectation.

The two areas we see company’s fall down is in the delta in the performance expectation of leadership and the performance of the backup solution.

Quite simply – some choices take hours and days to recover systems where the business tolerance to downtime is calculated in minutes.

Leadership needs to quantify the business downtime requirements first.  Then responsible IT can propose solutions to meet those expectations.  More often than not there is no alignment between the solution chosen and the recovery timeline expectation.

More Secure Authentication

The password has had its day.

Even the strongest password is no match for hackers armed with password-cracking algorithms.

While many systems are turning to two-factor identification for secure logins, some security experts have recommended doing away with passwords altogether.

Fingerprint authentication has been standard on some smartphones for several years. Many banks and other apps with sensitive data have followed suit, allowing users to log into their accounts with their fingerprint.

Other companies are rolling out facial recognition authentication as well as security measures that analyze your speech patterns.

While these methods are still quite new, so far they appear to be pretty foolproof. The British bank Barclays has been using voice-activated authentication for three years and has had zero security breaches so far.

In industries like pharma and biotech IT security is top priority. Securing your company’s data behind a single password isn’t going to cut it.

Adding a layer of biosecurity is a great way to keep your company and your assets safe.

The Aftermath of Equifax

Just last week, it was discovered that the American credit reporting giant Equifax had suffered a security breach that may have put the information of over 143 million people at risk.

Such a huge security breach is going to get a lot of people asking hard questions about cyber security.

Many of those questions are going to be asked by shareholders interested in keeping their investments safe.

This concern isn’t limited to Equifax, or even just the financial sector.

There’s a good chance that your own investors are going to have a new interest in cyber security. They’ll be asking what measures you are taking to keep your data safe.

If you cannot show them that you are committed to protecting your information from cyber-attacks, be prepared to watch them walk—taking their coffers with them.

A company with lackluster cyber security measures is also going to have a hard time attracting new investors, which will keep you from growing your company.

The Future of Biotech IT Security

As new cyber security threats come out of the woodwork, you need to stay ahead of the curve. If you are not working with a security company that understands the unique needs of biotech companies, you’re putting yourself at risk.

Don’t settle for mediocre security a day longer than you have to.

Contact us today, and we’ll ensure that your company’s information stays safe.

 

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