Microsoft reveals cybersecurity program to defend rural hospitals

Doctors on laptop - healthcare cybersecurity

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Microsoft has announced a new cybersecurity program intended to support hospitals serving more than 60 million people living in rural America.

According to the company, 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%.

In rural communities these attacks can be devastating, particularly to smaller, independent hospitals that are often the only healthcare option for many miles in the communities they serve.

“Healthcare should be available no matter where you call home, and the rise in cyber-attacks threatens the viability of rural hospitals and impact communities across the US,” said Justin Spelhaug, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Philanthropies.

“Microsoft is committed to delivering vital technology security and support at a time when these rural hospitals need them most.”

Protecting healthcare

For independent Critical Access Hospitals and Rural Emergency Hospitals, Microsoft has said that it will provide non-profit pricing and discounts for its security products optimized for smaller organizations, providing up to a 75% discount.

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.

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