Express Pharma

Cyber resilience: A high priority

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digitalisation and automation in the pharma sector. But, as the risk landscape of the pharma industry is huge it also needs to build better resilience and resistance to cyber-attacks on a war footing

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The upheaval wreaked by the COVID-19 pandemic has ushered sweeping digital and technological transformations across businesses in its wake. But, it has also amplified the threat of data breaches and cyber-attacks.

Cybersecurity firm, McAfee recently reported a “605 per cent increase in coronavirus-related cyber disruptions globally.” Companies engaged in research, science, and technology were the key targets, as per the report. Between July and September 2020, companies witnessed a 19 per cent rise in such attacks

As Charlotte Dunlap, Principal Analyst at GlobalData, observes, “In a pandemic that is prompting accelerated digitisation, having integrated monitoring and observability cloud services are crucial to application lifecycle management for providing insight to app performance, efficiencies, and governance/security. Alongside the need to fast-track business transformations comes the risk of software bugs, security breaches, and performance bottlenecks.”

A mounting menace

The pharma sector, with a central role to play in the world’s response against the pandemic, has been forced to innovate in ways unprecedented. This, in, turn, has accelerated digitalisation and automation in the industry. But, it also increased its susceptibility to cyber-attacks. Pharma and life sciences have seen a spate of cyber-attacks since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A report from BlueVoyant, a US-based cybersecurity firm, revealed that in 2020, eight renowned firms involved in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine faced targeted malevolent attacks. It also found that nation-state espionage was growing aimed at stealing COVID-19 vaccine research data.

Several pharma and life sciences companies in India too have been targeted by cybercriminals over the years, with Lupin and Dr Reddy’s Laboratories being recent examples.

“India is currently ranked as the sixth most vulnerable country where pharma companies are open to attacks from cybercriminals. Indian pharma companies are witnessing major cyber threats as they deliver affordable medicines on a large scale during the COVID-19 pandemic. These attacks can be di