Aust health sector dominates race to invest in the metaverse

A global study has revealed that businesses within Australia’s healthcare sector are ahead of other nations with plans to launch initiatives in the metaverse.

Over half (56%) of organisations within Australia’s healthcare sector plan to conduct business in the metaverse in the next 7 to 12 months, while 41% of UK and 17% of US healthcare businesses are expected to do so in the same timeframe.

Exposure Management company Tenable commissioned the study, Measure twice, cut once: Meta-curious organizations relay security concerns even as they plunge into virtual worlds, which surveyed 1500 professionals representing roles in cybersecurity, DevOps and IT engineering across Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The study examined how organisations are approaching the opportunities and challenges associated with building, securing and participating in the metaverse, as well as offering insights into the risks and rewards of investing in this space.

While still in its relative infancy, the metaverse holds promising business opportunities for the Australian healthcare sector, the most significant of which include improvements in learning and training (63%), enhanced services (50%) and digital real estate (50%).

“The opportunities the metaverse presents to health care are immense,” said Satnam Narang, senior staff research engineer at Tenable.

“Better surgical precision can be achieved and new procedures can be learnt without surgeons having to physically be in the same room. It also provides student doctors more opportunities for learning and collaboration, which collectively elevates the overall standard of health care.

“However, with more connected devices and endpoints introduced to make this immersive environment work, it’s vital that organisations take into account the new threats that can occur and the old threats that could transcend the metaverse. Progressive organisations that start by re-evaluating their existing infrastructure will be better equipped to navigate and build out their metaverse environments,” Narang said.

Only 19% of respondents felt very confident in their ability to curb threats in this new environment, as respondents list the following old and new threats as likely to take place in the metaverse:

  • Conventional phishing, malware and ransomware attacks (88%)
  • Compromised machine identities and API transactions (88%)
  • Cloning of voice and facial features and hijacking video recordings using avatars (100%)
  • Invisible-avatar eavesdropping or ‘man in the room’ attacks (81%)

     

In addition to the cybersecurity threats, respondents identified the lack of a clear process for data privacy (38%), which has significant implications for the healthcare sector.

Image credit: iStock.com/Thinkhubstudio


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