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Cyber Threats Challenging the Pharmaceutical Industry

Pharmaceutical companies these days continuing to adopt Cloud, due to which their hypersensitive and valuable information comes under high risk for cyberattacks. These days threat actors are even better resourced and capable of achieving their treacherous goals than ever before.

As the race to bring a coronavirus vaccine to market stimulates, threats are increasing. In July, cybersecurity agencies and authorities in the U.K. and Canada released a joint warning of attacks targeting COVID-19 research and vaccine development facilities. The concern is that such attacks could cause delays in delivering vaccines, which will risk millions of lives.

Worldwide, many government/non-government agencies joined to secure pharmaceutical companies that develop a vaccine or work for manufacturing and distribution from Cyberattacks. They understood that the consequences of a successful breach are genuine and may include harmful drugs, stolen intellectual property (IP), the need to repeat clinical trials, damaged reputation, downtime, litigation, and lost revenue.

Here let’s understand some crucial top cybersecurity threats aimed to faced by the pharmaceutical industry.

The Seven Primary Challenges to Pharmaceutical Security

Traditionally, compliance necessities like HIPAA drove cybersecurity strategies in the pharma industry. However, in 2020, pharmaceutical leaders realize that the approach is no longer sufficient enough. In addition, pharmaceutical data breaches continue, therefore the need to take action is clear. There are a number of challenges to overcome within the industry.

  1. A growing threat landscape: Thanks to the Internet of Things(IoT) and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) device integration, the attack surface has greatly expanded. A number of digital variations are adding a large number of attack targets possible in pharma networks. These include cloud migrations and the massive surge in remote work.


  1. An increasingly complex network: For years, a majority of pharma companies are confronted with maintaining very complex security systems. There are a number of high-level obstacles beyond the security gaps inherent with this approach.


  1. Distributed networks and acquisitions: The growth-by-acquisition strategy can create security challenges. Such acquisitions need to consider cybersecurity best practices as part of connecting to an already complex digital web.

Intellectual property electronically protected health information (ePHI), and other sensitive operational data are routinely accessed and transferred. Pharma enterprises struggle with challenges of visibility, data control, access auditing, and compliance reporting throughout their networks.


  1. The cyber skills gap: With the global shortage of cybersecurity professionals, to meet the demand for skilled cybersecurity talent. Where pharma companies can be strategicabout attracting and retaining top cybersecurity talent, people with these skills will be scarce for the foreseeable future, making it difficult—and expensive—to fill new positions.


  1. Threats from withinPharmaceutical companies face high risks from insider threats. It could be a staff member looking to earn extra cash by selling customer data, or a well-intentioned co-worker who merely sidesteps a company policy to save time.


  1. Compliance requirements: As regulatory requirements evolve and become more complex, demonstrating compliance can be time-consuming, especially when networks are composed of disparate point products that don’t share reporting capabilities.

Traditionally, pharmaceutical companies have focused their security efforts on meeting compliance requirements. But the reality is that most organizations struggle to demonstrate comprehensive compliance.


  1. IT/OT convergence and aging OT environments: Legacy software and hardware are typical in pharmaceutical manufacturing and were not created with keeping security in mind and were dependent on an air gap for separation.

As Cloud and business intelligence gains compel OT networks to converge with IT networks, OT networks are suddenly exposed to the entire threat landscape.

An Architectural Revival

Pharmaceutical companies are facing multiple and ever-evolving cyber threats, including compliance needs, nation-stated sponsored attackers, and increasing network complexity. Instead of solving each and every issue separately, a better plan is to take a comprehensive architectural approach to network security. Such an approach provides the automation, visibility, and fast response to threats that easily demonstrate compliance and defeat attackers.

To know more about the threats and challenges and enabling the latest approaches to safeguard pharmaceutical companies while protecting against cyberattacks.