White House enlists Microsoft, Google for rural hospital cyberdefense

The Biden-Harris administration has secured commitments from Microsoft and Google to offer free and low-cost resources to rural hospitals nationwide to help them boost their cyber defenses. 

As part of the effort, Microsoft will be extending its nonprofit program to provide grants and up to a 75% discount on security products for independent critical access hospitals and rural emergency hospitals, according to a June 10 news release from the White House. 

Additionally, larger rural hospitals using eligible Microsoft solutions will also receive the most advanced security suite at no additional cost for one year. Microsoft will also offer free cybersecurity assessments, training for front-line and IT staff and extend Windows 10 security updates for one year at no cost.

Meanwhile, Google committed to offering endpoint security advice to rural hospitals and non-profit organizations at no cost, alongside funding support for software migration. 

Google is also launching a pilot program to develop a tailored package of security capabilities for rural hospitals.

According to the White House, these efforts aim to enhance the security and resilience of the healthcare sector. 

Cyberattacks against the U.S. healthcare system surged by 128% from 2022 to 2023, according to the White House news release, with the U.S. witnessing one of the most severe healthcare-related cyberattacks in its history during February and March of 2024.

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