Microsoft and Google to Boost Cybersecurity for Rural Hospitals

Microsoft and Google to Boost Cybersecurity for Rural Hospitals

Penka Hristovska Penka Hristovska
Published on: June 14, 2024 Senior Editor

The White House is partnering with Microsoft and Google to provide free or discounted cybersecurity services to rural hospitals across the US in an effort to reduce their vulnerability to cyberattacks.

The White House and the tech companies made the official announcement earlier this week.

For its part, Google will offer free endpoint security advice to rural hospitals and provide funding to support software migration. Additionally, the company plans to launch a pilot program to package cybersecurity technologies tailored to the unique needs of small and rural facilities.

Meanwhile, Microsoft’s new Cybersecurity Program for Rural Hospitals aims to provide grants and up to a 75% discount on security products tailored for smaller organizations. The company states that eligible rural hospitals will also receive free cybersecurity assessments from qualified technology security providers and free training for both frontline and IT staff.

Additionally, eligible hospitals already using Microsoft tools can access its advanced security suite at no extra cost for a year. Microsoft will also provide extended security updates for Windows 10 to participating hospitals free of charge for 1 year.

According to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, cyberattacks against the US healthcare sector surged by 128% from 2022 to 2023. This year alone, the industry has faced several high-profile incidents, including a major ransomware attack on UnitedHealth’s technology unit, Change Healthcare. This attack significantly disrupted claims processing and payments to providers for weeks.

“Rural hospitals are particularly hard hit as they are often the sole source of care for the communities they serve and lack trained cyber staff and modern cyber defenses,” said Deputy National Security Advisory for Cyber and Emerging Technologies Anne Neuberger in a statement.

“Rural hospitals face a unique challenge in cybersecurity, balancing limited resources with the increasing sophistication of cyberthreats, which puts patient data and critical healthcare infrastructure at risk,” added Alan Morgan, chief executive officer of NRHA.

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