Bridging the Cybersecurity Divide: Empowering Rural Providers

The ongoing healthcare cybersecurity crisis presents a unique risk for rural providers due to their limited budgets and leaner staff.

While any cyberattack on healthcare infrastructure can disrupt care and negatively impact patient outcomes, rural populations face a particularly significant threat. In these areas, the nearest alternative hospital may be located hours away, which means that system downtime resulting from a cyber attack can have life-threatening consequences.

Recognizing the urgent need to address this vulnerability in America's health system, Senators Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Gary Peters (D-MI) recently introduced the Rural Hospital Cybersecurity Enhancement Act. This legislation aims to enhance cybersecurity in rural healthcare facilities by promoting strategies for improved safeguards and allocating resources to providers.

However, there is no guarantee that this legislation will successfully pass or fully address the current security challenges. Therefore, while progress is being made on Capitol Hill, it is essential for rural and community healthcare leaders to take proactive actions to protect their data assets and communities from this growing threat.

In this blog, we will explore the significance of partnering with an information security (infosec) provider to strengthen cybersecurity defenses. We will also discuss how MEDTEAM Information Security Services can help bridge workforce gaps and safeguard against malicious actors.

The Rural Cybersecurity Challenge

Rural hospitals face difficulties in attracting cybersecurity professionals due to resource constraints and a shortage of qualified candidates. Limited budgets and challenges in obtaining insurance policies further exacerbate this issue.

Although the Rural Hospital Cybersecurity Enhancement Act acknowledges these challenges and proposes solutions, outsourcing cybersecurity governance to a dedicated third party may currently be the most viable option for many providers.

Leveraging Information Security Partnerships

A comprehensive cybersecurity infrastructure requires a combination of tools, best practices, and partnerships. Collaborating with an experienced information security partner can provide rural and community organizations with specialized training, technology, and resources to achieve their cybersecurity goals.

Here are a few of the benefits:

Risk Assessments

An experienced information security leader can conduct thorough assessments to identify vulnerabilities and develop tailored strategies to address them. Prioritizing and reviewing findings with the client enables the documentation of a security improvement strategy, allowing facilities to allocate their funding for maximum impact.

This proactive approach ensures that hospitals stay one step ahead of threat actors.

Security Infrastructure Development

A cybersecurity team must possess the skills to design and implement robust security infrastructure that protects both on-premises and cloud resources. They should also be able to customize service offerings to meet the specific needs of the organization, such as setting up firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and data encryption.

Strong Governance

While a security review is a one-time assessment, a virtual CISO (vCISO) provides ongoing support to address security concerns. This service typically includes analysis, coaching, and expertise in reducing risks identified in the security review.

Rapid Response

In the event of a cybersecurity incident, infosec partners have the resources to quickly contain a breach, conduct an investigation, and restore critical systems. Relying solely on the limited capabilities of a traditional IT team or seeking assistance after the fact can result in prolonged downtime for patients and clinicians.

MEDTEAM Information Security Services

As rural hospitals face workforce gaps and limited resources, MEDTEAM offers a valuable solution. Our Information Security Services provide expertise in identifying risks before threat actors can exploit them. We can perform cost-effective analyses and remain engaged as a long-term partner to ensure ongoing protection.

By investing in cybersecurity and leveraging specialized expertise, rural hospitals can safeguard patient information, ensure continuity of care, and contribute to a stronger healthcare ecosystem.

To learn more about how we can help reduce risks, improve care quality, and lower costs, reach out to us at or dial 1.844.615.1803.

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