NHS Digital begins cyber security service roll out

Successful Blackpool pilot prompts beginning of national implementation of Microsoft Enterprise Threat Detection Service

England’s NHS has begun the national roll out of a cyber security service from Microsoft made available under a deal with NHS Digital.

Hand coming out of computer screenIt said it is beginning to spread the use of the company’s Enterprise Threat Detection Service (ETD) following a successful pilot run within Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust between September and November of last year.

This follows the announcement last August that provider of data and IT services for health and social care bodies has reached a custom support agreement with the software giant that will be available to all NHS organisations.

It involves Microsoft providing patches and updates for all existing Windows devices operating on Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and SQL 2005 – which are no longer supported on a standard basis by the company. In addition, the ETD service analyses intelligence and aims to reduce the likelihood and impact of security breaches or malware infection across the NHS.

Organisations taking the service need to make group policy changes in their Active Directory to allow Windows Error Reporting telemetry to be sent to ETD. This makes it possible for the service to identify devices with infected software and provide alerts with remediation advice.

1.5 million devices

NHS Digital said the service has already been deployed on over 30,000 machines and it will eventually cover up to 1.5 million devices in health and care settings, such as hospital trusts and GP practices.

Dan Taylor, director of security at NHS Digital, said: “This deal will further bolster protection against cyber security issues in the NHS.

“It is our role to alert organisations to known cyber security threats and advise them of appropriate steps to minimise risks. This marks a step change in our capability to provide high quality, targeted alerts to allow organisations to counter these threats and ensure patients’ needs continue to be met.”

Photo: iStockphoto/Henrik Jonsson