healthcare_IT_securityIt seems like Rapid7, the Boston-based IT security company, likes to do webinars. On their website, they have a healthy archive of webinars on IT security–from the latest phishing trends to security for mobile apps to deception based attacks. (What is the cyber-security equivalent of the phrase from soup to nuts? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?)

Speaking of healthy…the recent webinar I listened in was on the topic of healthcare IT security: The Healthcare Complex: How to Manage IT Risk in a Sensitive Healthcare Environment.

I listened in for a strange combination of reasons since, as you all know, I am a content marketer and writer, not a cyber-security guru. But I do find the concept fascinating, as long as it doesn’t get into too much technical detail. (I couldn’t code my way out of a paper bag, despite taking Programming with BASIC in high school, lo these many years ago.)

From my perspective and this one experience, the team at Rapid7 does a pretty good job of these webinars. First of all, they invited an expert from the field–John Halamka, CIO at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. (Also an ER doctor, professor at Harvard Medical School, and author of the Life As a Healthcare CIO blog. Clearly an underachiever.)

He shared some really interesting and scary stories. Despite all the recent high profile breaches we’ve heard about in various industries, the difficulty of keeping IT assets secure came as a bit of a surprise to me. Or should I say that what came as a surprise was the ease with which people can, quite accidentally, put a tremendous amount of highly confidential information at risk. And the fact that hackers are now targeting healthcare IT. That doesn’t sound good.

The stories John told could have happened in any type of company, not just hospitals. The difference is that when there is a breach in hospital IT security, the customers and consequences may be more dire. Who knew that more than a million and a half Americans were victims of medical identity theft in 2013?! That is something you don’t hear all that much about. And this isn’t the kind of thing that can be resolved with a few phone calls from the victim. Yikes.

The weight of this is not lost on those who do this for a living.

Also on the call was a healthcare security expert from Rapid 7, Christopher Ream. Together, the two tag-teamed the topic, and did quite a good job.  They also left a good chunk of time at the end of the hour-long webinar for questions. And for good reason. From the questions, I suspect there were very many IT security folks on the call. They asked about things like how to understand and quantify risks to asking for recommendations about how to get a security program started. And John and Chris had some good answers ready.

All in all, a well done webinar on a timely and important topic.

  • Salesy quotient
    Very low
    Christopher mentioned just a couple of Rapid7 products and did so in a very low key way. No hard sell or even very soft sell here.
  • Educational quotient
    Very High
    This was all about informing people of the risks to IT security in a healthcare environment and helping them understand how to mitigate it.

Did you listen to this webinar? What did you think? And what qualities make a webinar a success in your mind?

Photo courtesy of  David Boyle