IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

NHS asks IBM to boost its cyber security defences after WannaCry

Health organisation calls in experts, having failed to meet basic security standards on its own

NHS Digital has drafted in IBM in a bid to boost its cyber security defences in the wake of the devastating WannaCry attack that hit hospitals more than a year ago.

Under the three-year deal, reportedly worth 30 million, NHS Digital will gain access to a range of IBM's advanced cyber security services, such as vulnerability scanning and malware analysis, in an expansion to its Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC).

The CSOC, which monitors NHS networks for known threats and provides defensive support to health and social care organisations, will also be able to rely on IBM's X-Force repository of threat intelligence.

NHS Digital said this repository will provide insight, guidance, and can offer a wealth of advice to NHS organisations.

"This partnership will enhance our existing CSOC, which is delivered from NHS Digital's Data Security Centre," said Dan Taylor, programme director of the Data Security Centre at NHS Digital.

As part of the agreement, dedicated IBM engineers will offer the NHS extra support "during times of increased need".

"It will build on our existing ability to proactively monitor for security threats, risks, and emerging vulnerabilities, while supporting the development of new services for the future and enabling us to better support the existing needs of local organisations," Taylor added.

"This will ensure that we can evolve our security capability in line with the evolving cyber threat landscape."

The deal will also encompass security monitoring pilots in select NHS organisations to test their cyber security capabilities, with a view to rolling the pilots out across the wider health service, as well as an 'innovation service' allowing NHS Digital to access new tools and expertise to address emerging threats as and when they arise.

Taylor added that while the partnership will strengthen the security of sensitive patient information it will also enable knowledge and skills-sharing between NHS and the industry, allowing the health service to continue developing its own cyber security expertise.

Scrutiny on the NHS's cyber security measures has increased since last summer's WannaCry attack. All 200 trusts failed to pass basic security standards earlier this year despite getting 21 million from the Department for Health in July 2017 to improve its defences.

The NHS has taken various measures to boost its security credentials in recent months, including reaching an agreement with Microsoft to upgrade legacy Windows operating systems to Windows 10 by 2020.

IBM's deal comes as Privitar, the privacy engineering company, also won an NHS Digital contract to develop a de-identification software process, dubbed De-ID, to enable the de-identification of patient records across the NHS, and protect patient identity.

NHS Digital's executive director of data, insights and statistics, Tom Denwood, said that De-ID will replace various de-identification methods across the NHS, bringing one consistent process to all patient data as it flows through different NHS systems.

It follows the introduction of NHS Digital's data-sharing opt-out tool for patients across England who want to scrub their confidential information from being used for research and planning.

Featured Resources

Big data for finance

How to leverage big data analytics and AI in the finance sector

Free Download

Ten critical factors for cloud analytics success

Cloud-native, intelligent, and automated data management strategies to accelerate time to value and ROI

Free Download

Remove barriers and reconnect with your customers

The $260 billion dollar friction problem businesses don't know they have

Free Download

The future of work is already here. Now’s the time to secure it.

Robust security to protect and enable your business

Free Download

Recommended

Ransomware now strikes one in 40 organisations per week, Check Point finds
ransomware

Ransomware now strikes one in 40 organisations per week, Check Point finds

27 Jul 2022
Darktrace AI’s Antigena helps stop ransomware attack at Dordogne GHT
ransomware

Darktrace AI’s Antigena helps stop ransomware attack at Dordogne GHT

13 Apr 2022
Sabbath hackers are targeting US schools and hospitals
ransomware

Sabbath hackers are targeting US schools and hospitals

29 Nov 2021
US government warns of increased risk of ransomware over holiday season
ransomware

US government warns of increased risk of ransomware over holiday season

24 Nov 2021

Most Popular

How to secure your hybrid workforce
Advertisement Feature

How to secure your hybrid workforce

23 Sep 2022
What your hybrid workforce needs from their laptops
Advertisement Feature

What your hybrid workforce needs from their laptops

21 Sep 2022
Why collaboration is key to digital transformation
Sponsored

Why collaboration is key to digital transformation

13 Sep 2022