Microsoft Announces Cybersecurity Program to Protect Rural Hospitals Against Ransomware Attacks

June 12, 2024
Ransomware attacks in the healthcare sector were up nearly 130% in 2023, and rural health centers are often at increased risk.

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

Attacks involving ransomware against the healthcare sector were up almost 130% in 2023. These attacks are particularly devastating in rural communities, as some smaller hospitals have “limited means to prevent and remediate security risks” and may be the only healthcare option for many miles. Rural health clinics are one of the top targets for cyberattacks.

Microsoft is planning to “provide nonprofit pricing and discounts for its security products optimized for smaller organizations, providing up to a 75% 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.”

Microsoft is also working with rural hospital leaders to “rapidly bring AI solutions to market” to make “advances in telemedicine and improve clinical decision-making and prediction.”

About the Author

Matt MacKenzie | Associate Editor

Matt is Associate Editor for Healthcare Purchasing News.