Deal bolsters protection against NHS cyber security threats

NHS Digital and Microsoft provide targeted alerts to help reduce impact of cyber attacks

NHS Digital has entered a new deal with Microsoft that supports health and care organisations in protecting their IT infrastructure against cyber threats.

Microsoft's Enterprise Threat Detection Service enables NHS Digital's Data Security Centre to provide targeted alerts to organisations that enable it.

The NHS faces major challenges that require it to modernise, reform and improve services to meet the needs of ever-more-complex, instantaneous patient demands

The alerts use Microsoft's combined cyber security expertise to provide organisations with detection of issues, down to individual computers and other devices. They provide a full description of the problem and expert remediation advice.

The contract for the service was agreed following a successful pilot with NHS Digital and Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust.

The service has already been deployed on over 30,000 machines and has the ability to cover all devices within health and care settings in England, such as hospital trusts and GP practices.

Dan Taylor, director of security at NHS Digital, said: "This deal will further bolster protection against cyber security issues in the NHS.

"It is our role to alert organisations to known cyber security threats and to advise them of appropriate steps to minimise risks.

This marks a step change in our capability to provide high-quality, targeted alerts to allow organisations to counter these threats and ensure patients' needs continue to be met

“This marks a step change in our capability to provide high-quality, targeted alerts to allow organisations to counter these threats and ensure patients' needs continue to be met." /p>

NHS Digital provides a range of cyber security services for the health and care system, including a service to share threat intelligence and remediation advice, on-site data security assessments for NHS organisations, and specialist support for organisations affected by cyber security incidents.

The latest deal comes just one week after a rumoured hacking incident affected systems at hospitals in Wales and Manchester; and after the WannaCry attack which crippled NHS systems last May.

Commenting on the deal; Rob Bolton, director and general manager of Western Europe at Infoblox, said: “The NHS faces major challenges that require it to modernise, reform and improve services to meet the needs of ever-more-complex, instantaneous patient demands.

“However, while digital transformation presents a massive opportunity to support the doctors and nurses who work tirelessly for the good of their patients; these new technologies also introduce new cyber risk that must be mitigated.

It’s encouraging that Microsoft and NHS Digital are working together on a system that will enable healthcare providers to react more quickly to threats to their IT networks and, hopefully, take the steps necessary to prevent these threats from causing any lasting damage

“Our recent survey of UK healthcare IT professionals found that, following the devastation caused by WannaCry last year, one in four didn’t feel confident in their organisation’s ability to defend against a cyber attack.

“It’s encouraging then, that Microsoft and NHS Digital are working together on a system that will enable healthcare providers to react more quickly to threats to their IT networks and, hopefully, take the steps necessary to prevent these threats from causing any lasting damage.”

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