When Do it Security Investments Matter? Accounting for the Influence of Institutional Factors in the Context of Healthcare Data Breaches

Angst, C. M., Block, E. S., D'Arcy, J., and Kelley, K. 2017. "When Do IT Security Investments Matter? Accounting for the Influence of Institutional Factors in the Context of Healthcare Data Breaches," MIS Quarterly (41:3), pp. 893-916.

60 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2020

See all articles by Corey M. Angst

Corey M. Angst

IT, Analytics, and Operations department

Emily S. Block

University of Notre Dame

John D'Arcy

University of Delaware - Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics

Ken Kelley

University of Notre Dame

Date Written: January 24, 2016

Abstract

In this study we argue that institutional factors determine the extent to which hospitals are symbolic or substantive adopters of information technology (IT)-specific organizational practices. We then propose that symbolic and substantive adoption will moderate the effect that IT security investments have on reducing the incidence of data security breaches over time. Using data from three different sources, we create a matched panel of over 5000 U.S. hospitals and 938 breaches over the 2005-2013 timeframe. Using a growth mixture model approach to model the heterogeneity in likelihood of breach, we use a two class solution in which hospitals that (a) belong to smaller health systems, (b) are older, (c) smaller in size, (d) for-profit, (e) non-academic, (f) faith-based, and (g) less entrepreneurial with IT are classified as symbolic adopters. We find that symbolic adoption diminishes the effectiveness of IT security investments, resulting in an increased likelihood of breach. Contrary to our theorizing, the use of more IT security is not directly responsible for reducing breaches, but instead, institutional factors create the conditions under which IT security investments can be more effective. Implications of these findings are significant for policy and practice, the most important of which may be the discovery that firms need to consider how adoption is influenced by institutional factors and how this should be balanced with technological solutions. In particular, our results support the notion that deeper integration of security into IT-related processes and routines leads to fewer breaches, with the caveat that it takes time for these benefits to be realized.

Keywords: data security breach, institutional theory, firm characteristics, IT security, health IT, panel data, growth mixture model, longitudinal

Suggested Citation

Angst, Corey M. and Block, Emily S. and D'Arcy, John and Kelley, Ken, When Do it Security Investments Matter? Accounting for the Influence of Institutional Factors in the Context of Healthcare Data Breaches (January 24, 2016). Angst, C. M., Block, E. S., D'Arcy, J., and Kelley, K. 2017. "When Do IT Security Investments Matter? Accounting for the Influence of Institutional Factors in the Context of Healthcare Data Breaches," MIS Quarterly (41:3), pp. 893-916., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2858549

Corey M. Angst (Contact Author)

IT, Analytics, and Operations department ( email )

348 Mendoza College of Business
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN 46556-5646
United States

Emily S. Block

University of Notre Dame ( email )

361 Mendoza College of Business
Notre Dame, IN 46556-5646
United States

John D'Arcy

University of Delaware - Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics ( email )

419 Purnell Hall
Newark, DE 19716
United States

Ken Kelley

University of Notre Dame ( email )

363 Mendoza College of Business
Notre Dame, IN 46556-5646
United States
(574) 631-1459 (Phone)
(574) 631-5255 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://nd.edu/~kkelley

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