NHS smartens up endpoint security act

The National Health Service (NHS) is to provide its Trusts and Heath Informatics Services (HIS) groups nationwide with new security technology to protect data on its PCs and end user devices. The deal will cover 700,000 PCs and devices.

Connecting for Health, the management body in charge of the programme to modernise the NHS' IT systems, has signed a major agreement with security vendor McAfee to provide users with 700,000 licences for its device encryption, port control, secure content encryption and mobile encryption technology.

The news will be welcomed by many who have criticised government agencies and departments for poor IT security and data losses.

Dr Mark Ferrar, director of infrastructure at NHS Connecting for Health said: "Protecting patient data and NHS operational data against data security threats is essential. The McAfee product is an enterprise-class solution that integrates with existing software deployment tools, can be deployed in both standalone and organisation-wide scenarios, and meets the required stringent security standards."

The McAfee Data Protection system will be deployed centrally across the network to all endpoints to encrypt confidential staff and patient data on all client devices such as PCs, laptops, PDAs and smartphones. It will also protect content on hard drives and removable media such as CDs, DVDs and flash drives. The NHS will protect computer ports and prevent unauthorised use of portable media connected to USB, serial and parallel ports.

The system should also help NHS Trust and HIS IT teams improve management reporting and compliance, through centralised reporting functionality.

The deal was signed after guidance from NHS chief executive, David Nicolson was sent out to every NHS organisation saying a national agreement was needed to obtain new endpoint security technology. And Ferrar added: "McAfee Data Protection technology closely matched our extensive requirements and at a price that represents exceptional value for the taxpayer."

As part of the agreement McAfee is also working with its partner, Trustmarque to set up a nationwide structure to offer training and implementation services to NHS Trust IT managers.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.