Security is a top priority for all NHS Trusts, yet in a sector that works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, scheduling vital IT updates is challenging. These are often missed due to concerns about interrupting services, leaving a serious security vulnerability.
The pressure on NHS IT departments to safeguard data and systems, alongside medical and senior managementâ€™s desire to minimise any patient services is becoming a losing battle. Missing IT patches leads to system errors and failure, as well as potential breaches to security, which has a higher patient service impact.
As cyber-attacks become increasingly sophisticated, the number of patches released by software firms increases. For a complex NHS organisation, these updates take time to schedule and implement, ensuring minimal knock on effect to the business.
It is not a simple case of clicking a button and installing a patch, especially when it comes to the data centre. All these patches require testing to ensure issues are eliminated prior to a Trust-wide installation.
This increases the time necessary to install, causing many Trusts to delay and put off updates. This short-term view can seriously compromise the security of NHS systems.
Prioritising cyber protection
Widely publicised earlier this year, an NHS targeted cyber-attack managed to gain access to a number of NHS Trusts. Mainly this was due to a lack of priority in patch management and most of which could have been prevented.
By having a regular patch management programme in place, the risk of security threats is decreased, along with data theft/loss, reputational damage and legal penalties. It also ensures you stay compliant to enhanced regulations and legal requirements.
Despite the impression that IT updates, cause downtime, therefore stop staff doing their jobs, in fact, it increases productivity. Patches are not just to enhance security, they can optimise performance or fix errors in the systems.
Yet the biggest impact on employee productivity is system downtime. If critical systems are corrupted or suffer a security breach, the length of time to get it working, far outweighs the time it takes to effectively test and install a patch.
BDS Solutions works in partnership with NHS organisations to deliver Patch Management services that maximises security controls and reduces NHS security risk: View BDS Patch Management Overview