Cyberattacks on pharmaceutical companies can be devastating. From repeated clinical trials and stolen IPs to litigation and lost revenue, a breach of sensitive information can ripple through an entire organization.

For the most part, the pharmaceutical industry isn’t up to par on cybersecurity. However, intense competition continues to give way to cyberattacks that often come from the inside.

As a result, companies have been taking on a different approach—one that ensures security across their entire networks and protects against attacks both externally and internally.

To prevent valuable information from being shared and their reputations from being smeared, pharmaceuticals companies must acknowledge the risks and vulnerabilities they face.

Below is some insight on the importance of cybersecurity in the pharmaceutical industry and how to go about implementing it.

1. Cyberattacks Are Here and Going Nowhere Anytime Soon

Figuring out who cybercriminals target shouldn’t be a mystery. The truth is any person or company in possession of valuable information faces a high risk of a cyberattack. Because of the intellectual property stored on their networks, pharmaceutical companies should always view themselves as prime targets.

There’s even evidence showing that healthcare companies now face a greater threat of cyberattacks than retail companies. In fact, attacks on the pharmaceutical industry have only gotten worse over the years, leading to leaks of sensitive data like compound information and research on clinical trials.

For example, companies involved in mergers and acquisitions were victimized after insider information was fraudulently used to trade their stock for profit before news of the merger had been announced. If you’re waiting on warning signs before you contact a provider specializing in pharma I.T. solutions in South Jersey, or wherever else you might be located, you’re simply a sitting duck.

2. Attack Vectors Do Things Differently

Learning how criminals go after companies in your industry is key to strengthening your cybersecurity measures. In the pharmaceutical field, the determination of foreign state actors to obtain intellectual property continues to put these companies at risk. Often, adversaries try to access sensitive data by having an insider follow a corrupt agenda.

In this case, the goal is to tap into a steady stream of proprietary information. Unhappy employees and those about to be laid off can often be dangerous liabilities. The most valuable assets of a pharma company are typically stolen in ways that are much different than those for a bank or retailer.

In pharma, adversaries tend to stick around for a while, continuously trying to uncover sensitive data from their competitors. They’ll dig away to reach IPs that can help direct them to compounds used to develop drugs; thus, giving them the upper hand.

3. Get Started with Data Classification

You already know that adversaries are often going after your most important information, like compounds and formulas. Well, to protect it, you need to initially identify it—both at rest and in transit. Data classification will help you lay the foundation for a more protected network.

When you turn to a company that offers pharmaceutical I.T. consulting services near Philadelphia, or any other large city, you’ll be able to account for all the sensitive information on your network. Your staff will receive alerts about who gained access to the data and exactly where it went. Putting in the work to classify your data will provide your company with advantages from the very start, since protection becomes an automated process.

However, classification goes beyond just labeling your data; you must also understand critical applications related to the information, so that layered protection can go into effect at both the application and data levels. This is especially important with unstructured data, which usually ends up on sharing sites, making it easier for insiders to remove it without being detected.

Insider attacks on pharmaceutical companies is always a large possibility. The hard part is detecting and eliminating the risks presented by an insider attack. External attackers are aware that if they can gain access to privileged account credentials, they can enter your network while being perceived as insiders, potentially finding a way around the detection and monitoring solutions in place.

4. Prevent Insider Threats with Privileged Account Management

Privileged account management solutions help you avoid such attacks by providing the proper level of control and supervision, so that high priority accounts aren’t exploited or abused. When “superuser” accounts go unmanaged, pharmaceutical companies leave the door unlocked to sensitive corporate info.

That door can also open as an entry point for malware designed to compromise the performance and protection of a network. Privileged account management can also prevent administrators and superusers from covering up evidence of wrongdoing by carving permanent audit trails into your network.

While in the past, superusers could completely remove any evidence of unauthorized activity, now with privileged account management solutions, pharma companies can build a solid line of defense against threats on the inside.

5. Synchronize Your Cyber Protection Efforts

It’s true that there are different fields and lines of business when it comes to pharmaceutical companies. However, the importance and level of cyber protection across the industry should never waver. By requesting pharmaceutical I.T. consulting services in Central Jersey, for example, or whichever state you might be located, you’ll increase the cyber security of your company.

Quit hoping your staff follows policies and procedures, and start having the confidence that red flags would immediately be raised if someone were to engage in unauthorized activity. Additionally, gain the peace of mind you need knowing you’d be able to prevent and track users’ attempts to surpass the security measures you’ve implemented.

Trying to concentrate mainly on specific areas of your company’s security will only create loopholes. Instead, develop a broader approach to protecting the sensitive data stored on your network with outsourced I.T. support. Indeed, the safety of proprietary information in pharma should be reinforced with internal factors as much as external. Create a wide-reaching security blanket for your business and know you’re doing everything possible to protect your greatest assets.

The Last Word

As time goes on, pharmaceutical companies need to start focusing more on an integrated approach to protecting their networks. Data classification, physical access controls and alerts pertaining to unusual behavior will help prevent dangerous leaks of sensitive information.

These security measures can be implemented and maintained by a reputable I.T. support services provider in South Jersey, or anywhere else for that matter. Establish a strong foundation for your network security and continue to add to it as the digital space evolves.

By fully understanding the risks and vulnerabilities your pharmaceutical company currently faces, you’ll have confidence in acting on the security measures you need. Keep your most valuable data protected—at all times—to ensure your company continues to stay on top!