Mentions of cybersecurity within the filings of companies in the healthcare sector rose 35% between the third and fourth quarters of 2021.
In total, the frequency of sentences related to cybersecurity during 2021 was 148% higher than in 2016 when GlobalData, from whom our data for this article is taken, first began to track the key issues referred to in company filings.
When healthcare companies publish annual and quarterly reports, ESG reports and other filings, GlobalData analyses the text and identifies individual sentences that relate to disruptive forces facing companies in the coming years. Cybersecurity is one of these topics - companies that excel and invest in these areas are thought to be better prepared for the future business landscape and better equipped to survive unforeseen challenges.
To assess whether cybersecurity is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of healthcare companies, two measures were calculated. Firstly, we looked at the percentage of companies which have mentioned cybersecurity at least once in filings during the past twelve months - this was 91% compared to 81% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to cybersecurity.
Of the 20 biggest employers in the healthcare sector, Fresenius was the company which referred to cybersecurity the most during 2021. GlobalData identified 326 cybersecurity-related sentences in the Germany-based company's filings - 1.7% of all sentences. DaVita mentioned cybersecurity the second most - the issue was referred to in 1% of sentences in the company's filings. Other top employers with high cybersecurity mentions included Cerner, Orpea and HCA.
Across all healthcare companies the filing published in the fourth quarter of 2021 which exhibited the greatest focus on cybersecurity came from 1Life. Of the document's 1,351 sentences, 30 (2.2%) referred to cybersecurity.
This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on cybersecurity and how important the issue is considered within the healthcare sector, but it also has limitations and should be interpreted carefully. For example, a company mentioning cybersecurity more regularly is not necessarily proof that they are utilising new techniques or prioritising the issue, nor does it indicate whether the company's ventures into cybersecurity have been successes or failures.
GlobalData also categorises cybersecurity mentions by a series of subthemes. Of these subthemes, the most commonly referred to topic in the fourth quarter of 2021 was 'data security', which made up 69% of all cybersecurity subtheme mentions by healthcare companies.