Defending a Hospital's Cyber Vital Signs

Academic Medical Center

In 2023, it's clear that the healthcare sector remains a prime target for cyberattacks.

Ransomware attacks on hospitals are a serious threat to patient safety and public health. These attacks can disrupt access to critical care, delay life-saving procedures, and lead to the loss of sensitive patient data. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the frequency and severity of ransomware attacks on hospitals. In 2022, for example, the FBI warned that ransomware attacks on the healthcare sector had increased by 94%.

Why is healthcare a go-to target for cyber criminals? The allure lies in the wealth of sensitive information concealed within medical records – details ranging from names and birthdates to addresses and, most significantly, Social Security numbers.

Understanding that cybercrime is a real threat to their organization, our client, a multidisciplinary academic medical center in the Midwest, brought in Launch to assess the hospital's need for a robust Security Operations Center (SOC). Recommended by Health and Human Services (HHS), we used the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) framework to assess how well the SOC was operating. This assessment covered things like SOC performance, threats, tools, and security policies to make sure the hospital's cybersecurity was up to industry standards.

The task at hand

Our vision was clear: to fortify the hospital's cybersecurity posture by recommending a robust SOC that not only meets industry standards but also safeguards sensitive healthcare data from evolving cyber threats.


The hospital's existing SOC needed a thorough evaluation to determine its effectiveness. Our approach consisted of several key elements:

·     Current SOC Assessment: We embarked on an in-depth analysis of the hospital's existing SOC, scrutinizing its structure, processes, and technology stack.

·     Threat Assessment: We conducted an exhaustive assessment of cybersecurity threats specific to the healthcare sector. This involved identifying vulnerabilities and potential attack vectors that could compromise patient data and critical systems.

·     Tool Reviews: A meticulous evaluation of the cybersecurity tools in use within the hospital's network was carried out.This assessment aimed to determine the effectiveness of these tools in detecting and mitigating threats.

·     Security Policy Reviews: We conducted a comprehensive review of the hospital's existing security policies and procedures. This was done to ensure that they not only met industry best practices but also complied with the stringent requirements of the CMMC framework.


Our report encompassed three critical components:

1.    CMMC Maturity Assessment: This section illuminated the hospital's current cybersecurity maturity level and outlined the steps required to progress to the next level, aligning with industry standards.

2.    Tools & Tech Recommendations: We provided a detailed breakdown of recommendations in three key areas:Administrative, People, and Technology. These recommendations served as a roadmap for developing a highly effective SOC.

3.    Implementation Timeline & Roadmap: To facilitate the hospital's journey towards a robust SOC, we outlined clear timelines and objectives based on priority. This roadmap ensured a systematic approach to implementation.

Next Steps

Our client gained a comprehensive understanding of its current cybersecurity maturity, along with a well-defined path for improvement. Our recommendations, spanning administrative, personnel, and technological, paved the way for the establishment of a highly effective SOC.

Moving forward, the hospital is primed to enhance its cybersecurity posture, bolstered by the guidance provided in the implementation timeline and roadmap. The next steps involve the systematic execution of there commendations to fortify the hospital's defenses against ever-evolving cyberthreats, ultimately safeguarding both patient data and critical operations.