The NHS is facing unprecedented levels of cybercrime and the trend is only set to continue. We provide some practical steps so that NHS IT departments can take proactive steps to safeguard its IT estate.
Archives for March 2017
Cybercrime targeting NHS Trusts took the headlines last month, with figures suggesting that 34 per cent of Trusts across England, Scotland and Wales have experienced ransomware attacks in the last 18 months.
Rising technology and capabilities will only fuel this cyber threat, highlighting the essential need to crack down on IT vulnerabilities.
The rise of the digital society has created a new threat to all businesses and individuals. The Office of National Statistics, in figures released in July 2016, found that there had been more than 5.8 million incidents of cybercrime in the past year. Cybercrime can potentially be business crippling, causing litigation costs, reputational damage, and business disruption.
The situation is reported to only get worse as the level of technical sophistication of these threats is on the rise and is outpacing many organisations’ security programmes. For the NHS, protecting patient data and the operational ability of systems is crucial to ensure a continuous service to patients.
NHS cybercrime challenges
With multi-organisations, across a number of locations and an array of devices, securing the NHS’ IT infrastructure is a large and complex task. On top of this, with the rising technical advances of the threats, every Trust should have an evolving and continuous programme to secure their digital assets.
The reputational damage of cybercrimes can be costly to the NHS, but it has to be recognised and acknowledged as a modern society issue. According to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) the NHS was the biggest victim of data breaches in 2015 showcasing the pressure on the NHS to increase security measures.
Patient and corporate data is the NHS’ most valuable asset, so securing this is crucial. Public confidence in organisations is diminished when data breaches occur and this is enhanced for the NHS where personal information is held. Protection of the NHS reputation is core, but it should not be done at the cost of patient service.
Block out the right people
The challenge for the NHS is the large workforce that requires constant access. Practical security measures should always be considered, so that employees who need access to do their jobs are not blocked out from vital systems.
Security should be a balance of protection and user experience – too much security could result in inefficient, cumbersome processes. User education should also be a priority, educating staff on how to spot and prevent cybercrime will enhance the Trust’s security.
Cyber protection for a digital NHS
As the NHS continues steps to digitalise systems, the importance of protecting against cyber threats will be essential to minimise risk. Protecting patient and corporate data will be at the heart of any security programme, as well as ensuring the NHS can function in the most efficient manner. The NHS must identify cybercrime as a serious threat and allocate the resources to protect their IT infrastructure.
BDS Solutions understands the complexities within the NHS and is able to provide solutions to enhance the security protection of vital IT infrastructure. Working in partnership with NHS organisations across the UK, BDS Solutions utilises existing technologies alongside collaborative solutions to deliver a robust security solution. Contact the team at BDS to find out more about cyber security.