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by Zane Burke
Published on January 10, 2017

Across the board, data-driven industries are facing a dizzying increase in the volume and sophistication of cyberattacks, and the range of threats to personal health information, in particular, has never been more complex than it is today.

With that context, today’s announcement by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal to direct significant state funding to Cerner client Augusta University for the purpose of strengthening our nation’s cyber defense framework comes not a moment too soon. As a partner to the university and its world-class clinical operation, Augusta University Health, Cerner is proud of the role we’ll play in advancing this important work through the development of a state-of-the-art cyber range and other investments.

The complex announced today will benefit all Americans, especially consumers of health care in this country. When it comes to personal data – the information we consider most private and expect to be most protected – Cerner often describes health care as the biggest house on the most exclusive block with the most valuable and cherished belongings inside.

The long list of recent data breaches tells the tale of just how poorly that house has traditionally been protected. Our industry has arrived at this crucial moment by falling behind on the things that seem common sense enough that we learned them as kids and pass them on as early life lessons to our own children: don’t talk to strangers and remember to lock the doors.

While Cerner has committed a significant amount of our industry-leading research and development budget to incubating and implementing sophisticated data security measures for our own data and that of our clients, the most secure data systems in the world begin with the basics. Gov. Deal’s investment builds on this foundation, with an important component of the planned complex including facilities and protocols for companies like Cerner to test and evaluate their security infrastructure and encourage innovation to build better and more thorough deterrents to cyber threats.

Much like new security enhancements now available broadly to health care providers as a result of militarizing Cerner’s commercial solutions to meet the Department of Defense’s more stringent security requirements, we expect our collaboration with Augusta University and AU Health to also benefit the broader health care industry through new and faster innovations in data protection.

The world is a smaller place than it’s ever been. It’s incumbent on all of us to think differently about security, especially in health care given the significant public investment that has led to the near universal digitization of our nation’s personal health information.

Without question, that investment has opened the door to new and exciting possibilities in improving outcomes, reducing costs, connecting care and making the consumer health care experience much more engaging. The governor’s investment is a welcome and necessary next step in addressing the risk digitization has unfortunately also brought forward. Cerner is honored to again be at the leading edge of innovation in health care with our clients.

Read our Chief Security Officer's latest blog on keys to a successful cybersecurity program, and be sure to follow Cerner on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay up to date with the latest from our blog.

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