The pharmaceutical industry produces billions of dollars in sales each year. The industry is evolving and relying on using technology more and more to conduct day-to-day business. The industry generates enormous amounts of sensitive and private information such as medical records, employee information, financial data and research data. This makes the pharmaceutical industry vulnerable to cybercrime.
The pharmaceutical industry has a big responsibility to stakeholders, patients, employees and customers all over the world to ensure this information is secure. It is imperative for organizations to budget adequate amounts of money and resources to have effective Information Security Management. Information Security Management is critical in the pharmaceutical industry and the alternative of not having it would be devastating to a pharmaceutical company. Cyber criminals can tarnish company reputations and the effects can take years to overcome.
Companies in these space face a slightly different security challenges a compared to traditional manufacturing companies.
- Threat of Insiders:
One of the biggest threats to the pharmaceutical industry is not from a hacker, but from someone inside the organization such as an employee or contractor. Insiders are a problem because they are trusted to handle information within the company and based on their position, they could have access to sensitive information. Dealing with malicious, disgruntled or ignorant insiders is much more difficult than outsiders.
- Valuable Patient Information:
Patient data is abundant in the pharmaceutical industry. Patient data is collected from employees, clinical patients and donors. Patient health information is so valuable because the records tell a person’s entire life history as well as transactional history. This potentially exposes the company to Health, Financial and Reputational risk.
- Supply Chain Security:
A number of business processes, which require pharma companies to share confidential information with third parties, make them vulnerable to information security breaches. – Increased number of licensing deals and collaborations – Increased outsourcing of manufacturing and clinical trials to third parties – Increased usage of social media and other technologies for information exchange and communication.
- IP Protection:
Nothing is more valuable to a pharmaceutical company than the formula for one of its new drugs. The value of stealing a potentially successful drug design, particularly one not protected yet, is huge. IP theft offers the unethical competitor the opportunity to bypass the risk and cost of R&D and take a short cut to marketing a profitable drug. With a global manufacturing base and worldwide market, exploitation of stolen pharmaceutical industry is fairly straightforward—more so than in industries where complex, technologically intensive manufacturing processes reduce the pool of partners in a position to exploit stolen IP.
- Compliance Regulations:
National and international regulations have become active to provide the first line of defense against security threats, making compliance to voluntary standards, as well as government mandates, a cornerstone. Several countries have come with regulations. South Asian facilities from India need to follow National Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) Compliance Monitoring Authority, Department of Science and Technology. Since many pharma companies span multiple borders, they should also abide by national regulations within each operating region.
Sequretek helps its customers in understanding the threat landscape and offers solutions that cover the whole spectrum from protecting data to managing information security risk through the extended supply cahin as well as responding to security incidents and vulnerabilities.