Today’s healthcare and life sciences sectors rely on an increasingly complex network of relationships that link researchers, clinical trials professionals, healthcare providers, manufacturers, regulators and patients in the reliable delivery of precise treatments and professional care. The sharing of sensitive medical information and data among the array of connected stakeholders is enabling better, faster and more personalized treatment and care, while convenient remote and mobile access continue to enhance today’s capabilities. Emerging technologies such as 5G networks are accelerating connectivity across the value chain, and technology providers are becoming an integral part of life sciences companies’ operations and partnerships.

As vital health networks and connections become more seamless and sophisticated, however, cyber security threats are soaring. These costly and destructive ransomware attacks — often spread by vulnerable third party suppliers — are making global headlines and raising a red flag on the critical need for organizations to secure the complex ecosystems they rely on. To add to the industry’s growing complexity and risk challenges, life sciences businesses find themselves in a vast new risk-charged world of fourth, fifth and even sixth parties. These include the cloud services, IT providers, partners and affiliates that define today’s modern extended enterprise.

According to the KPMG 2021 CEO Outlook Survey, since the global pandemic outbreak, supply chain and cyber security risk have risen to become the leading threats to growth over the next three years. And for life sciences, of course, supply chain risk is even more pertinent amid the industry’s current role in supporting COVID-19 vaccination programs worldwide.

With the rapid pace of both innovation and emerging threats, traditional approaches to third party assurance are no longer fit for purpose. While third party risk management, monitoring and innovation are not new challenges, gaining a precise view of your organization’s role in today’s modern ecosystem, understanding your data-sharing capabilities and identifying vulnerabilities amid the intersection of emerging risks have become critical. Organizations hoping to compete and thrive in the future will inevitably need to pursue greater industry collaboration, leverage security rating and real-time monitoring capabilities, and improve data management amid growing reliance on cloud services.

In collaboration with KPMG cyber professionals working with clients from around the world, this paper looks at current challenges and emerging solutions that have the potential to help businesses implement secure modern ecosystems which reduce risk, build trust, improve privacy, drive ongoing innovation and manage compliance. And as cyber threats and risk continue to proliferate, there is no time to lose. Unlocking new ways to enhance ecosystem capabilities and security in the digital era will likely spell the difference between success and failure.


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