Microsoft Announces Cybersecurity Program for Rural Hospitals

This comes in the wake of growing cyberattacks on the healthcare industry.

By HFT Staff

Microsoft Corp. announced a new cybersecurity program to support hospitals serving more than 60 million people living in rural America. In 2023, the healthcare sector reported more ransomware attacks than any other critical infrastructure sector, and attacks involving ransomware against the healthcare sector were up nearly 130 percent. Cybersecurity attacks disrupt health care operations across the country and pose a direct threat to patient care and essential operations of hospitals. In rural communities these attacks can be devastating, particularly to smaller, independent Critical Access and Rural Emergency hospitals with limited means to prevent and remediate security risks and often the only healthcare option for many miles in the communities they serve. 

According to the National Rural Health Association, rural health clinics are one of the top targets for cyberattacks. The new Microsoft Cybersecurity Program for Rural Hospitals is designed to support the unique cybersecurity needs of these organizations and will deliver free and low-cost technology services for these hospitals, along with free training and support. 

For independent Critical Access Hospitals and Rural Emergency Hospitals, Microsoft will provide nonprofit pricing and discounts for its security products optimized for smaller organizations, providing up to a 75 percent discount. And for some larger rural hospitals already using eligible Microsoft solutions, the company will be providing its most advanced security suite at no cost for one year. As part of the new program, the company is also providing Windows 10 security updates to participating rural hospitals for at least one year at no additional cost. Microsoft will also provide free cybersecurity assessments through Microsoft and its trusted partners to evaluate risks and gaps and offer free cybersecurity training to staff in rural hospitals to help them better manage the day-to-day security of their systems. 

This news was announced in close collaboration with The White House, the American Hospital Association and the National Rural Health Association. Microsoft will work with all three institutions on the rollout, adoption and effectiveness of the program. 

June 11, 2024

Topic Area: Information Technology , Security

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