Hospitals just can’t seem to get a break these days.
Hundreds of them have been working around the clock to treat the millions of Americans afflicted by the deadly coronavirus.
And now, medical centers across the US, are finding themselves under siege by a very different “virus.”
That’s because the healthcare sector ranks as the top choice for hackers trying to burrow into networks. Once in, they either launch malicious software known as “malware” or demand money- and sometimes both.
Take the case of Universal Health Services hospital system based in King of Prussia, PA.
The cyber-attack it received took the form of “ransomware” – locking users out of their own IT systems, and demanding payment to restore access.
Fortunately, there is a leader in the roughly $140 billion cybersecurity market that can help hospitals and businesses across the board.
In fact, there’s a new catalyst for the stock that I believe will help it double earnings in as little as three years…
Fighting the Digital Crimewave
Now then, you have to hand it to the good folks at Universal Health. They sure do know how to play tough.
Lots of individuals and businesses have given in to ransomware to regain control of the computers, networks, data, and applications.
But when it was hit last September, Universal Health refused to pay.
Instead, IT officials restored the facilities themselves.
It wasn’t cheap, that’s for sure. When they added up all the computer costs and lost income because patients had to be sent to other hospitals, the total came to $67 million.
Universal health is far from alone. In fact, hackers started targeting hospitals specifically as Covid struck, thinking they could get higher ransoms.
Just a month after Universal Health was hit, it was Sky Lakes Medical Center’s turn. Based in Klamath Falls, OR, the hospital had to completely shut down its computer network overnight to avoid losing everything to a ransomware attack.
Electronic medical records, prescriptions, test results, MRI scans – everything was stored on those computers, and at the flip of a switch became inaccessible.
While dealing with Covid cases, Sky Lakes Medical Center restored its systems fully a month later, having completely replaced 2,500 computers and rebuilt its network at a cost of $10 million.
According to Coveware, a company that helps negotiate with hackers, more ransomware attacks were made against healthcare in last year’s fourth quarter than any other industry.
The reasons are clear. Healthcare today is almost completely digitized. Medical records, lab results, scans, prescriptions – it’s all stored electronically. That makes work much easier for the physicians, nurses, and techs who deal with it all.
But it also makes healthcare a big target for hackers. And the growth of medical devices means even healthcare equipment is now often interconnected, creating another vulnerability.
And during Covid, the stakes only got higher – and the potential for big ransoms rose, too.
Other industries are getting hit as well. In fact, Fortune Business Insights says cybersecurity is growing 12.6% a year and will be worth $281.7 billion by 2027.
When looking for market-crushing gains, it’s hugely important to “ride the unstoppable trends”, and look for profits where growth is happening.
Right now, that includes cybersecurity and so many other sectors in our tech-driven economy.
In a moment, I’ll be sharing with you a company I have my eye on in the unstoppable cybersecurity trend, but we can also show you exactly which companies to buy, and which ones to avoid, across the entire economy.
All you have to do is click right here to get started.
A Line of Defense
Enter Palo Alto Networks Inc. (PANW). This firm offers a suite of security tools used by large organizations across industries, including healthcare.
Palo Alto offers the full gamut of cyber products, from network-based security hardware and software to AI analytics that scours a company’s cloud for unusual activity and other signs of hacking.
Take the company’s Prisma Access platform, which secures web and non-web apps in the cloud. This platform is used by almost a third of the Fortune 100 companies.
Palo Alto doubled its Prisma Access subscriber number over the past year.
And the firm’s Cortex cloud cybersecurity AI is even more popular,
Two-thirds of the Fortune 100 companies use Cortex. Ironically, the AI recently prevented a hack on Palo Alto Networks itself.
And as I mentioned, Palo Alto recently announced another huge catalyst to its growth. See, the firm’s Prisma Cloud cybersecurity tool that monitors access to a company’s cloud is already a huge success with more than 1,800 clients.
But monitoring the way apps access networks can only do so much. As the SolarStorm hack of last year showed, hackers are increasingly moving one step down the supply chain.
Instead of hacking networks directly, they’re attacking the developers or chip makers that create the apps and hardware that make up those networks.
That way, the hack is “built-in” to the network from the start, and is much harder to discover.
That’s why Palo Alto is moving to have its Prisma Cloud also secure the development and operations process of setting up networks to begin with.
To do so, the firm just announced its acquisition of Bridgecrew, a cybersecurity company focused on securing developers, for $156 million.
Bridgecrew’s network-design scanner was released last year and has already been downloaded over one million times.
By integrating Bridgecrew’s developer-focused security scans into Prisma Cloud, Palo Alto will have the world’s first cybersecurity platform that can secure a network from design through operations.
But don’t worry, I still see plenty of upside ahead.
In its most recent earnings report, Palo Alto revealed a 25% jump in revenue and a 30% jump in adjusted earnings per share, roughly double its three-year average.
After having looked through their financials, I’m projecting earnings growth of 24% a year, meaning they will double in roughly three years.
With a fast-growing cyber leader like Palo Alto in your portfolio, you can be secure in knowing your wealth will grow for years to come.
Cheers and good investing,
Michael A. Robinson