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Neglected IT Operations in Pharma Invite Cyber Attacks

The pharma industry often neglects IT operations, which are at the heart of cybersecurity processes. PharmaIQ found that serious shortcomings exist in pharma due to “security holes…from backdated operating systems” as well as “inadequate software updates and patches.” Such shortcomings caused Merck to suffer a disruptive ransomware attack in 2017.

The pharma industry, according to InfoSys, is “among the most heavily regulated industries in the world,” with companies under supervision by multiple regulatory bodies. The legislative landscape is vast, including ECPA, HIPAA, GDPR. With lives and the security of private data at stake, it makes sense to regulate operational processes and the manufacturing of drugs. Non-compliance brings the possibility of liability for class action and shareholder suits, penalties from enforcement actions, and reputational damage. With HIPAA, even a “violation attributable to ignorance” can attract a fine. Willfully overlooking a HIPAA regulation and not rectifying the situation can bring the maximum penalty, which is $50,000 per violation. Individuals responsible for violations can receive fines and a prison sentence of 1 to 10 years.

Neglected IT operations in Pharma can be costly

  • theft of intellectual property 
  • release of confidential patient health information
  • threats to patient safety

Cyberattacks against health bodies, vaccine scientists, and drugmakers have soared during the COVID-19 pandemic, underlining that there’s no place for complacency about IT infrastructure shortcomings in these trying times.

What compliance means

Compliance in the pharma industry includes identifying and mapping IP and IT assets, which might be onsite but also in a network or in the cloud, or in the possession of a vendor or affiliate. It includes understanding how and where private data is used, stored, and accessed. It includes understanding the legal, regulatory, and liability frameworks involved in protecting confidential data.

Efforts toward regulatory compliance must include implementing cybersecurity hygiene mechanisms and moving business-critical applications to supported and secure operating systems. 

While the IT department may be responsible for guarding against data malfeasance, cybersecurity is an enterprise-wide issue that requires commitment and direction from upper management, including the Board. Increasingly, Board members are held responsible for neglecting their fiduciary duties when they neglect IT operations and cybersecurity in their organization.

How VirtaMove can help

Neglected IT operations are an open invitation for cyber attacks. VirtaMove’s technology can help you modernize IT operations in a timely and cost-effective fashion. Our Migration Intelligence Suite uses automation to discover your migration profile, capture applications along with all dependencies and historical data, and move current apps and all their data and historical information to a modern and supported environment. 

Automated discovery and migration allow your company to save roughly 70% of the costs that you would incur with a hand migration.

App modernization offers many benefits for a modest infrastructure investment, including closing security exposures on outdated, unpatched OS instances and enhanced performance on newer, faster hardware. It also extends the useful life of your apps while allowing concurrent plans and activities, such as parallel app redevelopment, IP and IT audits, and security, privacy, and risk assessments.

Contact VirtaMove to schedule a demo or learn more about automated migration. We help companies like yours secure a brighter future every day and we’re always pleased to share what we know.

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