03 May 2018

NHS plans to strengthen cyber security announced

A new multi-million pound Microsoft package will ensure NHS systems have the most up-to-date software with the latest security settings.

The agreement with Microsoft will ensure all health and care organisations are using the latest Windows 10 software with up-to-date security settings to help prevent cyber attacks.

Since 2017 the government has invested £60 million to address cyber security weaknesses. A further £150 million will be spent over the next 3 years to improve the NHS’s resilience against attacks. This will include setting up a new digital security operations centre to prevent, detect and respond to incidents.

The centre will allow NHS Digital to respond to cyber attacks more quickly and also enable local trusts to detect threats, isolate infected machines and kill the threat before it spreads.

Other measures to improve cyber security include an investment of £21 million to upgrade firewalls and network infrastructure at major trauma centre hospitals and ambulance trusts. A further £39 million will be spent by NHS trusts to address infrastructure weaknesses.

The Care Quality Commission will be given new powers to inspect NHS trusts on their cyber and data security capabilities in addition to the introduction of a data security and protection toolkit, which requires health and care organisations to meet 10 security standards.

A text messaging alert system will also be implemented to ensure trusts have access to accurate information – even when internet and email services are down.

Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “We know cyber attacks are a growing threat, so it is vital our health and care organisations have secure systems which patients trust.

“We have been building the capability of NHS systems over a number of years, but there is always more to do to future-proof our NHS against this threat.

“This new technology will ensure the NHS can use the latest and most resilient software available – something the public rightly expect.”

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