Harris Health System in Texas will take on the first steps to develop a plan to share cyber intelligence among healthcare organizations.

The initiative is one of the results of President Obama's February 2015 order to federal agencies that they work on developing ways to share cyber threat information among government and private sector organizations.

Under a one-year, $150,000 grant from the HHS office of the assistant secretary for preparedness and response, Harris will develop a plan for the healthcare industry and government on how to share cyber threat information on a national level.

With three hospitals and 44 ancillary provider sites, Harris Health System is the third largest public health organization in the nation. Ask why the organization wanted to take the reins, Jeffery Vinson, vice president and chief information security officer, says, “We take cybersecurity very seriously and feel we have one of the best programs and the opportunity to get on the national level and be recognized as a leader.”

Also See: How the White House Wants to Share Cyber Threat Info

Vinson emphasizes that Harris Health System is not developing a national cyber threat sharing program, but simply being the leading organization in planning the strategy of how to disseminate threat information. This includes understanding threat vectors (how a threat gets to the target) and security gaps. Harris already is talking with peers, vendors and other stakeholders, seeking information on what others have learned in their gap analyses, and will present an initial plan during a kickoff meeting on October 30.

The second year of the program, which will be under a separate contract that has not yet been awarded, will focus on the actual mechanisms of sharing threat information—of how to share.

For now, Harris Health System seeks more industry input and collaboration, and interested organizations can contact Vinson at infosec@harrishealth.org.

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