New cyber security service to boost NHS protection

03 January 2018

A new £20m project aims to boost data security across the NHS.

NHS Digital’s Security Operations Centre (SOC) will provide enhanced and ongoing monitoring of national systems and services, and also offer specific guidance to local health and care organisations. The monitoring service will analyse threat intelligence from multiple sources and share this together with remediation advice.

Other services offered by the SOC include on-site data security assessments to enable NHS organisations to identify any potential weaknesses and to get the best value from local investment. There will be specialist support for any NHS organisation which believes it may have been affected by a cyber security incident.

NHS Digital is now looking for a partner to support it with the project. The contract is tendered to run for three to five years.

Dan Taylor, head of the Digital Security Centre at NHS Digital, says: “The partnership will provide access to extra specialist resources during peak periods and enable the team to proactively monitor the web for security threats and emerging vulnerabilities.

“It will also allow us to improve our current capabilities in ethical hacking, vulnerability testing and the forensic analysis of malicious software, and will improve our ability to anticipate future vulnerabilities while supporting health and care in remediating current known threats.”

Taylor adds that by creating a national, near-real-time monitoring and alerting service that covers the whole health and care system, the SOC will drive economies of scale, giving health and care organisations additional intelligence and support services that they might not otherwise be able to access.