‘We’re going to help better protect the NHS from hackers,’ says NHS Digital

Group announces a £20m project to boost its ability to support the NHS’s data security – and wants a new tech partner to help

Posted 29 November 2017 by Gary Flood

NHS Digital is to put £20m into beefing up its ability to support the NHS’s data security – and is on the lookout for a commercial partner to help deliver it over the next three to five years.

The new ‘Security Operations Centre’ will provide enhanced monitoring of national services across health and care, says the organisation. It’ll also empower NHS Digital to offer more specific advice and guidance to local NHS organisations, it promises. These include:

  • a monitoring service to analyse intelligence from multiple sources and shares guidance, advice, threat intelligence and remediation to relevant contacts in health and care
  • on-site data security assessments for NHS organisations to enable them to identify any potential weaknesses and to get the best value from local investment
  • specialist support for any NHS organisation which believes it may have been affected by a cyber security incident
  • on-going monitoring of NHS Digital national systems and services.

For Dan Taylor, Head of the Digital Security Centre at NHS Digital, “The Security Operations Centre will enhance NHS Digital’s current data security services that support the health and care system in protecting sensitive patient information.

The partnership with a new security partner will provide access to extra specialist resources during peak periods and enable the NHS Digital cyber security team to proactively monitor the web for security threats and emerging vulnerabilities, he believes.

It will also allow us to improve NHS Digital’s current capabilities in ethical hacking, vulnerability testing and the forensic analysis of malicious software, and will improve its ability to anticipate future vulnerabilities while supporting health and care in remediating current known threats.

“By creating a national, near-real-time monitoring and alerting service that covers the whole health and care system, the Centre will drive economies of scale, giving health and care organisations additional intelligence and support services that they might not otherwise be able to access,” he concluded.

NHS Digital is the national information and technology partner for the health and social care system, and says it’s all about using digital technology to transform the NHS and social care.