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Microsoft launches a new program to help protect rural US hospitals from cyberattacks

Microsoft logo lit up by its halo

Cyberattacks and ransomware can be major threats to the nation's healthcare system. Indeed, the FBI recently revealed in a report that the healthcare industry in the US suffered from more ransomware attacks in 2023 than any other critical infrastructure industry.

Hospitals that are located in rural communities could be particularly vulnerable to these kinds of attacks as they may not have the security resources to fight them off or deal with them once they have occurred.

Today, Microsoft announced it is launching a new security service specifically for healthcare facilities in rural locations. It's called the Microsoft Cybersecurity Program for Rural Hospitals, and it's being launched in partnership with the Biden White House, the American Hospital Association, and the American Rural Health Association. The program will offer both free and low-cost solutions to these hospitals that are used by 60 million US residents.

Specifically, Microsoft will give independent Critical Access Hospitals and Rural Emergency Hospitals deep price cuts on its security products. That means they will get nonprofit pricing that amounts to as much as a 75 percent discount on these security services.

Also, larger rural hospitals that are already using Microsoft products will be able to access the company's most advanced security systems for free for one year. It will also offer free Windows 10 security updates to hospitals participating in the new program for at least one year.

Microsoft's press release added:

In addition, Microsoft will 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.

The program is available right now, and eligible hospitals who want to learn more and sign up for the service can do so at Microsoft's website.

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