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Oct 5, 2017

Industry insights,

NHS and the risk of hacks

IT leaders within the NHS have provided a stark warning that it’s likely confidential and sensitive patient data has been hacked and stolen. It comes directly from a report based on a research project conducted by VMWare and Intel, and highlights the unprecedented threat that cybercrime now presents to organisations such as the NHS.  The study alluded to the fact that almost a third of responders believed that patient data had been infiltrated in some way, and in addition, almost all felt sure NHS staff data had been hacked.

There are many factors to consider that contribute to the threat posed to the NHS. Unfortunately, most of these don’t bode well for the continued security of the organisation, in the constant battle against cybercrime. Our public facing organisations need to focus resources in order to ensure they tackle the crucial areas of cyber protection, such as having the right internal skills to improve the IT infrastructure and security, which could also include educating staff to avoid any human intervention element of cybercrime. This alone though is not going to be the solution for the NHS. As cybercriminals regularly change their approach, the NHS are just as likely to experience an infiltration through their applications as they are more traditional methods. With this in mind, their challenge centres on the modernisation of their IT environments and an overall improved security infrastructure, which for a company as far reaching as the NHS, means a quick resolution is out of the question. This kind of improvement takes significant planning and investment, of which the government’s £21 million funding will help to facilitate.

In the immediate term, IT leaders within the NHS are stressing a clear importance on training and skills development, alongside the technology, to ensure the risks associated with patient data loss can be reduced.