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Leadership in the Line of fire – Proactive vs Passive Cyber Defense in Healthcare


In the connected world of modern organisations, cyber risks are not just IT problems – they are leadership challenges. Every decision made by executives can have ripple effect across the organisation, also influencing its ability to withstand cyber threats.

Note: The following is a fictional story, and any resemblance to real companies or situations is purely coincidental.

Meet Cure4People and VitalHarbor

These two exceptional healthcare companies proudly showcase their state-of-the-art facilities, top-tier professionals, and a common goal: delivering the best possible care to their patients. However, when it came to cybersecurity, their approaches were vastly different.

Cure4People: The leaders, who had successfully run the company for many years and had not experienced any major cyber incidents, were not concerned about cybersecurity. They seemed to think, “We have been safe until now, so why should we make any changes?” As a result, there was very little cybersecurity infrastructure, training was inconsistent, and they didn’t prioritize security governance.

VitalHarbor: A forward-thinking CISO recently went to a cybersecurity seminar. The harsh truths presented during the seminar led to a leadership meeting. The message was simple: “We are at risk and we must take action.” In response, they started creating a detailed plan to protect against cyber threats. This plan included training employees, improving infrastructure, and implementing governance measures.

On one important day, both companies were attacked by very advanced ransomware. For Cure4People, everything became chaotic. They couldn’t continue their work, patient data was in danger, and the IT team struggled to find solutions because they weren’t prepared.

VitalHarbor, on the other hand, had a significant advantage over Cure4People. Despite the fact that the attack managed to breach their defenses, they were able to act swiftly and decisively. They promptly isolated the affected systems, utilized their backup resources, and maintained open and transparent communication with both customers and stakeholders.

The consequences were completely different for the two organisations. Cure4People had to deal with legal actions, a damaged reputation, and a lot of financial problems. All of this could have been reduced or even prevented if they had been more careful and invested in cybersecurity.

VitalHarbor, however, came out with some minor problems but not serious ones. The leaders’ proactive choices were extremely valuable. The stakeholders praised their reaction, and even though there were difficulties, they were manageable because of the existing measures.

Key Takeways for Leadership

Although fictional, the stories of Cure4People and VitalHarbor resemble real cases we can read about in news articles. They highlight an important lesson: Leadership choices, particularly in cybersecurity, have the ability to influence the future of an organization. Taking a proactive approach not only safeguards data but also protects reputation, trust, and ultimately, financial performance.

During an audit, regulators and stakeholders not only review mistakes but also evaluate planned or ongoing actions. Showing proactive intention can greatly affect judgments, both in public perception and legal proceedings. In the face of a cyber attack, having these plans ready isn’t just about defense; it’s about showing commitment to due diligence and responsibility. Such proactive measures might reduce legal actions against executives, highlighting that the threat was acknowledged, and steps were being taken to handle it.

Basically, while it’s best for all protections to work properly, even taking the first steps to improve cybersecurity can make all the difference. It is not only about protecting data and systems, but also about protecting the integrity of management.

How do you run your organization?

If you are an executive reading this, rest assured that you will face cyber threat at some point. The only question is when, not if. However, what truly matters is how well-prepared you will be. Do not leave the fate of your organization to luck. Take action today by scheduling a cybersecurity consultation from Fujitsu to pave a robust and secure path forward for your organisation’s future.

By Marko Leppänen, SOC Business Owner & Head of Security Portfolio, Fujitsu Finland

Marko is your guide to navigating the complexities of cybersecurity in the business world. He assists organisations in gaining a holistic view of their cybersecurity posture. Marko’s approach is friendly, knowledgeable, and rooted in the understanding that a well-rounded cybersecurity strategy is key to a thriving organisation in our digital age.

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