Home - News - TESTIMONIAL: The Centre Hospitalier Intercommunal des Vallées de l’Ariège has been securing its messaging with Altospam for 14 years (2008)
TESTIMONIAL: The Centre Hospitalier Intercommunal des Vallées de l’Ariège has been securing its messaging with Altospam for 14 years (2008)
Cybersecurity: French hospitals on the front line of cyberattacks and hackers. On Saturday, December 3, 2022, computer screens at the Versailles hospital center displayed this message: “All your important files have been stolen and encrypted. Please follow our instructions”. The hospital was the victim of a cyber-attack affecting its site and patient care.
In France and around the world, cyber-attacks on French healthcare establishments (hospitals, clinics, laboratories, etc.) are on the increase. Hacker groups use ransomware to exploit security holes and encrypt their computer systems, before blocking access entirely by publishing an online message demanding a ransom. Hospitals are prime targets for hackers. This phenomenon has intensified since covid-19. The French National Agency for Information Systems Security (ANSSI) predicted 380 attacks in 2021, up 70% on 2020, and estimated that one attack per week would affect the healthcare sector.
We have in mind the best-known cases of cyberattacks & hacking: the Dax hospital in 2021 (victim of ransomware, malicious software that paralyzed the local IT system). The total cost of the Dax hospital cyber attack was 2.3 million euros. Or the cyber-attack at the Centre hospitalier Sud francilien in August, the encryption of information systems at Éhpad de Beuzeville in August and Argelès-Gazost in September, the detection of a compromise during a Zimbra update at CH de Cahors in September, and the encryption of the network at the Bluets maternity hospital in Paris recently.
President Emmanuel Macron has announced the acceleration of the national cybersecurity and cyberdefense strategy. The aim of this strategy is to structure the cyber ecosystem to enable national players to acquire enhanced, sovereign cybersecurity resources.
“Our cybersecurity strategy is set to accelerate. Because we need to go further, faster, be at the forefront. A total of 1 billion euros will be invested. We need to step up training and double the number of jobs in this strategic sector by 2025. Healthcare organizations will be invited to systematically devote 5-10% of their budget to cybersecurity, in particular to maintaining the security of information systems over the long term.” Emmanuel Macron.
After 2 years of health crisis, Aurélien C. and Guillaume B., respectively RSI and RSSI of the “GHT des Pyrénées Ariégeoises”, give us their testimony. They talk about their use of the Altospam solution since 2008, and the importance of email protection at a time when cyber-attacks on hospitals are on the increase.
What was the context when you decided to implement a messaging protection solution in 2008?
AC | GB: “In 2008, we were receiving more and more spam and unsolicited emails. We didn’t want to buy an on-premise solution to manage it ourselves with our teams. So we looked for a SaaS solution that would enable us to manage upstream emails and any spam/viruses, and thus sort emails. Sorted mail doesn’t consume bandwidth. Spam, on the other hand, takes up Internet pipes and disk space to the detriment of other things. So we had a lot of technical constraints that we wanted to outsource. At the time, awareness of malware and e-mail attacks was not as high as it is today. Above all, we had to deal with the ever-increasing number of unsolicited e-mails, and avoid acquiring solutions in-house. We had the opportunity to test the Altospam solution, which seemed to meet our needs. The solution convinced us from the very first days/weeks.”
What were the most important criteria for a cybersecurity solution? Why did you choose Altospam to protect your healthcare facility in 2008?
AC | GB:“We had heard about a local email protection solution: Altospam. We were looking for a software/solution with an interesting price/performance ratio in relation to our structure. We were also looking for a benefit in terms of internal efficiency & time savings. With Altospam, the results were immediately convincing: few resources were needed to implement the solution, and the teams’ time was saved. We were also interested in the opportunity to test the solution and eventually stop using it if we weren’t satisfied, without consuming too many internal resources. Price, investment time for IS teams & test results/efficiency were the main criteria in our choice. We were also sensitive to local & French aspects. Altospam’s teams (sales, support) are based in the South-West of France, and the servers are all located in France. We originally chose Altospam for our anti-spam needs & are delighted to benefit from the solution’s antivirus, antisphing , anti ransomware solutions.”
What impact does using Altospam’s solution have on your users’ daily lives?
AC | GB:“There’s no impact, because we don’t receive any spam, we don’t see anything. The solution is not at all intrusive either on our architectures or on our users. Users don’t see that there’s an e-mail protection solution, an anti-spam solution. They don’t know it’s there. And for the technical teams it’s very comfortable, we don’t have to do anything.”
How important do you think the Altospam email protection solution is for a company like yours?
AC | GB:“A few months ago, we had email outages, the system was no longer available. But thanks to the Altospam solution, we haven’t lost a single e-mail. In fact, they store e-mails for a certain period of time. In addition to managing spam and other external attacks and threats (phishing, ransomware, viruses, etc.) Altospam is a mail security system. In Toulouse, some time ago, one of the large healthcare hosting companies had a problem for 3 days. All our infrareds fell away, and we were able to activate the PRA messaging (Disaster Recovery Plan) proposed by Altospam. We were therefore able to buffer our emails on Altospam’s servers, so we didn’t lose any mail during the interruption. The e-mails were stored on Altospam as a back-up. When it all started up again, we hadn’t lost anything, and the e-mails had managed to be distributed. In addition to managing spam and viruses, it’s also a back-up solution for our e-mails in the event of an internal problem on our systems.”
What do you think of Altospam’s support? What benefits have you seen?
AC | GB:“We didn’t have much support because we didn’t need it. When we’ve needed to contact support, the response has always been very precise. The Altospam teams know their solution inside out. The benefits? A non-intrusive solution, a comfort solution for teams who don’t have the time. Time-saving for users. The ability to consult statistics on the interface and, above all, a PRA service is included for emails..”
Do you recommend Altospam solutions?
AC | GB:“We have always recommended Altospam solutions to our colleagues”.