Cyber security increases across England’s health organisations after a deal is struck between NHS Digital and Microsoft.
Partnering together, Microsoft and NHS Digital hope to reduce disruption from cyber threats to NHS services for patients and workers by providing better support against threats and improve security.
A Customer Support Agreement was formed earlier this year, in August, giving organisations across different health and care sectors a better level of security whilst planning future update operating systems.
Key elements of the CSA involve Microsoft monitoring the cyber landscape of operating systems and develop patches for systems quicker than before to take on any known threats, including the best possible delivery around installing the patches.
Andrew Haywood, senior project manager in NHS Digital’s Data Security Centre, said: “We were already doing a lot of the key activity, but the attacks brought this into the spotlight and the Microsoft deal was signed to enhance that capability and to look at areas where we could improve.”
Another aspect of the CSA includes semi-annual updates to operating systems, including the delivery of up to date security aspects and help healthcare organisations transform their digital systems from older versions of software to newer, and bring expertise to help the sector in ways they weren’t aware of themselves.
This benefits organisations because it means half yearly updates as appose to a mass project every couple of years and also reduces the risk of attacks on the system.
In addition, Microsoft has provided and extra aspect called ‘Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection’ that collects cyber data through cloud systems that use analytics to enable better reaction on behalf of organisations.
Important factors in increasing cyber security are the software and infrastructure of organisations. Machines running the older versions of Windows, especially Windows XP and Server 2003 are the most vulnerable to cyber-attacks due to the lack of support being available.
Within the CSA there is an Enterprise Threat Detection (ETD) service that gives developers and IT specialists a central approach to monitor threatening cyber activity. In real time, the ETD service analyses data intelligence and identifies threats and aims to reduce the severity of security breaches or malware infections across NHS bodies.
Microsoft and NHS Digital’s deal is available to all organisations across England including NHS trusts, CCG’, local authorities and care homes. Any organisation dependent on Windows XP still will receive steps to protect their systems and delivery of care.