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Gurriny Yealamucka Health Services and Baidam: Peace of mind

Since 2000, Gurriny Yealamucka Health Services Aboriginal Corporation (Gurriny for short), an Aboriginal community-controlled health service, has delivered primary healthcare within the Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire, Far North Queensland. Its culturally appropriate model of care encompasses all aspects of clinical and social healthcare delivery, providing services to over 4000 residents.

Gurriny is one of 145 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) that operate in over 300 clinics across Australia.

Suzanne (Sue) Andrews is the CEO of Gurriny. A proud Aboriginal Woman from the Jaru, Punaba and Bunal Bardi peoples of Western Australia’s North Kimberley region, Sue has over a decade of experience in health and the community-control sector. She is an active advocate for social change amongst her people and community.

Health services under attack

The overall growth in cybercrimes against Australian health services, including several attacks on ACCHOs, prompted Sue to consider Gurriny’s cyber maturity.

“I’d heard about several recent cyberattacks on health services like ours,” she says, “including an incident here in Queensland, where their client data was stolen and held for ransom. After hearing these stories, I knew we could easily be the next organisation held to ransom.

“The worry of it happening to us was keeping me up at night.”

Baidam put Gurriny’s IT system to the test

Given her sleepless nights, Sue was glad of the opportunity to see Baidam Solutions present at Supply Nation’s Connect 2023 Tradeshow in Sydney.

“It was fascinating to learn more about cybersecurity from another First Nations business and to hear their story. As our GM, Anita Lee Hong, already knew one of the Baidam team and had previously reached out to him for help, it gave us another good reason to connect.”

After several yarns via Teams, Baidam sent a team member to Yarrabah to conduct a penetration (pen) testing exercise on Gurriny’s IT systems and infrastructure. For Sue, the results were completely unexpected.

“He sat there for a few days and just tried to hack everything in our system,” says Sue. “What was worrying was that after only three or four tries, he could hack into our emails, documents and more. That's how easy it was – and we’d had no idea.

“I felt sick, scared, and mortified.”

Stopping the gaps

Baidam’s pen testing report gave Sue a high-level overview of Gurriny’s risk profile.

“Thankfully, Baidam identified some of the low-hanging fruit in the report and fixed those issues for us straight away - including improving our end-point security for our field workers with managed services. Their quick response was great - it was such a huge relief to us.”

Baidam also stepped in to provide Gurriny’s field team with much-needed internet continuity by setting up a Starlink satellite connection.

Talking the walk

The relationship between the Gurriny and Baidam teams is excellent.

“Baidam really talk the walk,” says Sue. “What they say they are doing as an Indigenous business is their reality. One of the first conversations we had when they visited us was them asking what they could do for our community. How could they give back? Can they train any people in our business or Yarrabah in cybersecurity, or can they get some local kids interested in our STEM university scholarships? Or support training and scholarships within Gurriny?

“They are a godsend to our organisation and beautiful people to work with. If they tell us we need something, it’s because we genuinely do – not because it’s an opportunity for them,” says Sue.

Sue’s objective in engaging Baidam is to have a cyber-secure and robust IT system and, by default, be able to sleep at night.

“We want our systems, our business, and everyone we work with in our community to be safe,” says Sue. “And we completely trust Baidam to help us achieve that outcome.”

A more secure future and peace of mind

Baidam and Gurriny are working together to continuously improve the organisation's overall cyber security posture. Meanwhile, Sue has wasted no time encouraging other organisations in Yarrabah to talk to Baidam - even if it’s to gain some peace of mind about their cybersecurity.

As for Sue? “I’m already sleeping better at night, knowing Baidam is protecting us.”

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