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Safeguarding Life Sciences Firms From High-Risk Security Breaches and Data Leakage with Real-Time Cyber Defense Threat Management
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The biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry is one of the fastest growing wealth-producing sectors in the U.S. economy and the second most frequently targeted industry in 2011. Biotechnology and pharmaceutical manufacturers overall face greater security risks with insider threats and bio-espionage attacks than other industries. Aside from the significant value of patents, intellectual property, clinical trial data, and large volumes of protected health information (PHI) generated from clinical trial research, there are also security risks associated with data sharing among third-party partnerships. Bloomberg News reported that “In the past five years, cyber-spies have raided pharmaceutical companies, cosmetics makers, chip fabricators, and mining companies, stealing blueprints, manufacturing technology, and the chemical formulas of market-leading products.” The sole purpose of these industrial espionage attacks is to illegally collect intellectual property for competitive advantage with the ultimate goal of creating counterfeit products or registering a patent based on a rival’s R&D. A survey of several hundred pharmaceutical manufacturers conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers and CIO Magazine disclosed that nearly half of pharmaceutical and life science organizations have experienced a breach of security in the past year. The survey also revealed increasing concerns about security breaches from outside hackers. In the pharmaceutical market, the source of information security breaches also comes largely from inside the organization with 35% of pharmaceutical companies attributing security breaches to current employees and 23% attributing breaches to former employees. The biotechnology industry consists of over 200 major companies with a vast majority of revenue generated primarily in the United States, Japan, and Western Europe. The industry overall plays a critical role in providing medical technology developments and cutting-edge solutions to global health as well as a key role in the economic prosperity of the United States. Innovative new medicines and devices discovered and developed by life science organizations provide advanced medicinal applications, better quality of health care, prolonged life expectancy, improved health, and better patient outcome, as well as job creations and economic gains. Bourne Partners, a global healthcare merchant banking and financial advisory firm reported that “the global biotech industry, led by the United States, was $84.6 billion in 2010 and is expected to grow at a 7% CAGR to $103 billion by 2013.” The Global Biotechnology Industry Market Research Report published by IBISWorld estimates that the “global biotechnology industry revenue will reach $228.6 billion in 2012. Over the five years to 2017, the industry is expected to continue to prosper, with the Asia-Pacific region investing significant amounts of capital in order to gain a strong foothold in the industry, particularly China, South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore."
The global biotechnology market overall is predominately a capital intensive industry. Billions of dollars are invested annually in R&D with a long path to commercial payback until the newly discovered product is finally introduced to the commercial market. According to a study by Bain & Company, the cost of discovering, developing, marketing, and launching a new drug to market for pharmaceutical companies is more than $2 billion a year. As the pipeline of new drugs continues to expand, many companies reinvest up to 50% of their sales back in to R&D. The COMSATS Institute of Information Technology Organization reported that the “Global economics is driving international competition among biotechnology companies to develop new products and applications. The growing recognition of biotechnology as an economic and social growth factor has prompted governments in many countries to provide financial support to their local biotechnology companies to encourage research, development, and commercialization of ideas and product.” Homeland Security NewsWire reports that the “product of biotech research is information that is turned into products, treatments, and insights that drive value and revenues. The massive investment is at risk. International espionage activities have targeted the biotech industry with their eyes on data from later stages of research. Security experts estimate that theft of intellectual property from U.S. companies exceeds $200 billion a year. The figure could be significantly higher, though, since most organization do not publicly disclose security breaches that result in the theft of research data or other sensitive information.” According to Brent Erickson, Consulting Editor of Industrial Biotechnology, “Industrial biotechnology companies rely heavily on their patents to attract investment to fund the research and development necessary to bring innovative products to consumers. Strong intellectual property protection is critical for these companies. Based on what is known of attacks from other nation states, a declassified estimate of blueprints value, chemical formulas, and other materials stolen from U.S. corporate computers in the last year hit US $500 billion."
The life science market has become a lucrative target for advanced cyber threats and insider attacks. The escalating number of cyber intrusions aimed at the biotech and pharmaceutical industry can be attributed to a number of unique factors and challenges. Despite most of the companies achieving annual revenues of more than $1 billion, the CIO Magazine survey revealed that security in life science sector is hampered by limited budgets and lack of resources. 44% of the surveyed companies did not have a CIO, or CISO, in place to oversee an organization’s security posture. The survey also disclosed that fewer than half of pharmaceutical organizations are actually using data leakage prevention tools designed to detect potential data breach incidents in real-time and prevent them. Life science organizations overall face many security challenges and security regulations, and also have many opportunities to lose critical data that can jeopardize the business operations, intellectual property data, valuable clinical trial information, and sensitive PHI records. Due to the extremely large and interconnected networks within the biotechnology and pharmaceutical supply chain, a scalable and comprehensive network security solution with real-time monitoring is needed to safeguard confidential corporate data from both external and insider threats around-the-clock. Malware exploits, sophisticated viruses, and Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) are the biggest security threats to data security. Information Week has disclosed that multiple Fortune 100 companies have recently been targeted by malware as part of a campaign designed to steal proprietary information. The cyber-espionage attacks against life science companies are usually considered “advanced persistent threats” because they have the capability and intent to effectively target a specific entity over a long period of time. As a whole, APTs are comprised of a class of dangerous targeted attacks implemented by motivated, organized, and well-funded criminal groups seeking to penetrate specific networks and systems for the purposes of data collection and exfiltration or the establishment of remote command and control. The primary attack motive is to steal high-value information over a long period of time before anyone even realizes that there is a security breach. To safeguard intellectual property data and privacy, biotechnology and pharmaceutical manufacturers need to make sure that their cyber defenses keep pace with ever-evolving advanced threats and insider attacks.
There has been an overall decline in information security processes over the past several years. The number of life science organizations conducting an overall information security strategy and performing due diligence on third-parties that handle personal data, as well as investing in advanced security technology to monitor network traffic, user database activity, and prevent data leakage is small in numbers. Proprietary data loss and information leakage should be a great concern as data leakage protection is keeping information out of the wrong hands. Most life science organizations have been slow to adopt new information technologies that prevent data leakage because of traditional thinking--the erroneous belief that traditional and existing security solutions are enough to safeguard data and protect the company from known threats. However, the interconnectedness of the global market and prevalent use of advanced persistent threats by hackers are transforming the information security requirements. Because proprietary data is what is valuable now for cyber criminals, data protection is where the focus must lie. Security experts predict that information security challenges will increase in volume for the foreseeable future unless the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry become more pro-active in securing and protecting their network systems. Due to major economic impact a security breach can have on both business and third-party partnerships, life science organizations need to ensure they are taking every precaution to safeguard their confidential information and provide sufficient resources for IT departments to operate more effectively.
Tactical Flex, Inc. understands that life science organizations need a comprehensive and affordable real-time threat management solution that gives IT departments the technology power and operational efficiency to accelerate the accurate detection of advanced security threats as well as pinpoint security risks in order to safeguard the privacy of corporate clients. Aanval’s SIEM and IDS solution provides around-the-clock monitoring of all in-bound and out-bound network traffic including both user and database access activities and the effective detection and prevention of malware exploits. Aanval’s next-generation technology features include a unique situational awareness engine that allows IT departments to quickly identify which specific devices, services, and approximate areas of the network that are most at risk and which are more likely to be a problem in the future. In addition, Aanval also delivers multiple source event collection, correlation, and archiving, and false-positive-reducing event validation that further delivers advanced event analyses, making it simpler to investigate and prevent anomalous behaviors including advanced threats.
Additionally, Tactical Flex, Inc. is a trusted security vendor, with its products and services helping secure the future of biotechnology and life-sciences.