By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter

ePLDT, Inc. is in talks with medical centers to equip them with a cyber-threat monitoring and response solution as more criminals exploit the pandemic to take advantage of vulnerable hospital systems, the top official of PLDT Inc.’s digital business solutions subsidiary said.

In an e-mailed reply to questions on May 20, Juan Victor I. Hernandez, ePLDT president and chief executive officer, said the company is offering a free three-month cyber-security solution to healthcare facilities in the country.

He added that the objective of the offering is to contribute to the fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

“After the three-month period, the healthcare facilities can choose to proceed with the subscriptions at mutually agreed terms with ePLDT or decide to discontinue the engagement,” said Mr. Hernandez, who is also senior vice-president and head for PLDT and Smart enterprise business groups.

“With more and more threats emerging each day, we cannot stress enough the importance of having cyber-security measures in place especially as organizations tread a new normal of business,” he said.

On March 24, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) warned of potential cyber-attacks against hospitals and healthcare facilities.

It said Philippine hospitals and healthcare facilities should “employ emergency backup systems to ensure operational continuity for both databases and infrastructure in case of outages caused by malware or cyber-attacks.”

Mr. Hernandez said ePLDT has built a comprehensive cyber security operations center, which can provide organizations in any industry a holistic capability to predict, detect, prevent and respond to threats and incidents.

In a statement, PLDT said Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings, Inc. (MPHHI) hospitals are availing of the free three-month cyber-security service.

The hospitals under MPHHI’s portfolio include Makati Medical Center, Cardinal Santos Medical Center, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Asian Hospital, De Los Santos Medical Center, Manila Doctors Hospital, Marikina Valley Medical Center, Inc., and Dr. Jesus C. Delgado Memorial Hospital.

“The free service has also been extended to other industries such as government and manufacturing, to name a few,” PLDT said.

Mr. Hernandez said further: “By giving companies free trials of our cyber-security service, we hope to let our customers become worry-free when it comes to cyber security threats during this critical time. By experiencing it firsthand, we hope for them to realize cyber-security’s value for their business which outweighs the cost. From our end, we are giving our very best in getting the service to the most cost effective level possible.”

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls.