As an NHS Trust, how cyber secure is your data?
June 16, 2023

Can you really afford to wait to plan, recruit, onboard and train an internal security team? Cyber criminals are not going to wait until your teams are in place!

The National Health Service (NHS) is one of the largest and most complex organisations in the world, and it is precisely because of this that it will constantly be a prime target for cyber criminals looking to steal sensitive data, make financial gains, or simply disrupt critical healthcare services across the UK.

Only last summer, the NHS 111 service was hit with a huge ransomware attack, which is still causing knock-on effects now, and this week the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) launched its cyber security strategy.

Cyber security in any business is complex, but the problem with cyber security in the NHS is multi-faceted. Firstly, it is well documented that the healthcare industry is lagging behind other sectors in terms of investment in cyber security. Secondly, the NHS is made up of a vast number of different organisations, each with its own unique IT infrastructure and security challenges. Finally, sourcing good quality cyber-trained staff is a real problem at the minute, which makes it extremely difficult for individual Trusts to build and maintain effective cyber security programs – can you really afford to wait to plan, recruit, onboard and train an internal security team? Cyber criminals are not going to wait until your teams are in place!

As a Managed Service Provider (MSP) that specialises in the NHS, we are uniquely positioned to help address these challenges. We have the expertise and resources to provide comprehensive cyber security solutions that are tailored to the needs of individual NHS organizations, and we can work closely with our clients to understand their unique security challenges and design customized solutions that are effective and affordable.

One of the key benefits of working with any MSP is immediate access to a team of highly skilled cyber security professionals. The Quadris staff are experts in the latest security technologies and techniques, and they have extensive experience working within healthcare organisations to improve their security. By working with Quadris, NHS Trusts can tap into this expertise and benefit from best practices developed through years of experience that can immediate close security flaws and protect that most valuable commodity – data!

In addition to immediate access to a trained workforce, MSPs in general are hugely cost-effective as there are no recruitment costs, no salaries, no holidays to factor in and no increase in management burden. For many NHS Trust, building and maintaining a dedicated in-house cyber security team is simply not financially feasible. The alternative is therefore that cyber security isn’t taken seriously, until a flaw is found, and names begin to appear in the national press.

By outsourcing to an MSP like Quadris, NHS Trusts of all sizes can access the same level of expertise and resources at a fraction of the cost, allowing them to allocate resources more effectively and focus on their core mission of delivering high-quality healthcare services.

Addressing cyber security in the NHS is a complex and pressing challenge that requires a comprehensive and tailored approach today to ensure that effective cyber security programs are build and maintained – protecting sensitive data and ensuring critical healthcare services are not disrupted. So how as a Trust do you even begin?

1. Conduct a risk assessment: The first step is to assess the risks to your IT infrastructure and data. This involves identifying all the assets and systems that need to be protected and assessing the likelihood and impact of various cyber security threats.

2. Develop solid policies and procedures: Next you should develop policies and procedures that outline how data should be handled, how access to systems and data should be controlled, and how incidents should be reported and responded to.

3. Train staff: Staff training is critical in ensuring that everyone in the Trust understands the importance of cyber security and knows how to follow the policies and procedures that have been developed.

4. Implement technical controls: Technical controls such as firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, anti-virus software, and encryption should be implemented to protect the trust’s IT infrastructure and data.

5. Conduct regular testing: Regular testing should be conducted to identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses across your IT infrastructure, and to test the effectiveness of the policies, procedures, and technical controls that have been implemented.

6. Have an incident response plan: Your Trust as a whole (not just the IT department) should develop a full incident response plan that outlines how to respond to cyber security incidents. This plan should include steps such as containing the incident, conducting forensics, notifying affected parties, dealing with third parties, handling the press, and restoring systems and data.

If as an IT Department you’re struggling on developing your next steps, please do get in touch for a confidential conversaion. We can provide immediate advice and help you on your journey to securing your data.

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