Increasing the investment made in cybersecurity and improving collective awareness about the importance of protecting all information exchange processes on the network were two of the main conclusions drawn from the discussion table “Reliable digital health, big data and cybersecurity” . A forum in which an updated photo of virtual security in health centers was presented and in which the need to expressly advance in these two matters was revealed.

Roberto García, vice president of the Tera Cluster, was responsible for moderating an interesting conversation in which Miguel Ángel Rodríguez, founder and promoter of the ProtAAPP Community, participated; Ricard Vilata, head of Public Administration at AVAYA Spain; Jesús Varela, Sales Director FORTINET Spain; and Rocío Montalbán, deputy director of Digital Health of the Government of Cantabria.

“We are facing a scenario in which threats grow much faster than defenses,” argued Rodríguez to justify the inevitable exposure suffered by all health centers in the country. “It is like a roulette wheel of fortune and, despite all precautions, any hospital can be attacked today, tomorrow or the day after tomorrow,” he concluded. “The digital transformation of analog processes, the appearance of new elements associated with progress, such as 5G or portable health equipment, and the shortage of resources with specific training in cybersecurity represent the main challenges for the health sector,” Varela added.

In 2022, 3,300 attacks were recorded in the greeting field in Spain. Most of them come from an industry for which patients’ medical data constitutes an element with which to do business. “Cybercrime as an industry has an estimated value of 8 trillion US dollars,” said Rodríguez. Faced with this giant and cases as significant as the attack suffered by the Barcelona Clinic, the question is clear: are we doing everything we can to protect ourselves?

“In the case of the Cantabrian Health Service, we are faced with the dichotomy of going more slowly in the implementation of services to take care of their development or speeding up to provide better services,” explained Rocío Montalbán. The deputy director general of the Government of Cantabria explained her department’s investments in this area and spoke about the launch of the Cybersecurity Office. “Among their tasks, improve incident management or implement new tools,” she explained. “All communication channels have a series of risks and we must know what state they are in and minimize the transit of highly sensitive data,” continued Vilata. A statement that Montalbán completed by delving into the responsibility of each actor that intervenes in each layer of cybersecurity in the centers.

Similarly, in addition to exploring new horizons and new regulations, it is very necessary to implement security measures in common procedures for all users of the system. In fact, in a general environment 40% of cyber attacks occur from an email. Even with everything, none of the speakers wanted to put the responsibility solely on the shoulders of the users. “The excuse that the employee is the weakest link prevents us from concentrating on other more important causes,” said several of the speakers. “The health environment has a very big budget problem when it comes to addressing the challenge of cybersecurity,” Varela settled.



Finally, all the speakers agreed that the health sector needs expert cybersecurity professionals who also have specific training related to health. A challenge shared with any other area of activity in our country, the resolution of which is not easy at all. “Spain does produce experts, but the private and foreign markets pay them better and take better care of their professional careers,” Rodríguez said. “Therefore, we need more investment in talent and more care for human resources to prevent them from emigrating.”

This interesting colloquium was the epilogue of the course “Digital health based on value: towards the human factor and precision medicine”, which has been co-organized by the Tera Cluster together with the Government of Cantabria at the Menéndez Pelayo International University.