Let’s talk about cybersecurity in the NHS

In the last few years alone, the healthcare industry has benefited from a vast array of new technologies. With this digital evolution comes countless opportunities for advancement, from the development of medical equipment to improved care provision.

However, great opportunities present great risks. As our reliance on data and technology grows, so do cyberattacks. In recent years, the number and severity of cyberattacks against healthcare systems and hospitals have drastically increased. Technology is developing at such a rapid rate that organisations are scrambling to keep up with the required cybersecurity measures.

The 2017 WannaCry ransomware hack was a concerning insight into the NHS’s vulnerability. Eighty of the 236 NHS trusts were either infected or shut down their systems as a precaution, staff were unable to access patient information, and thousands of appointments and surgeries were cancelled. The NHS was inadequately prepared to respond to the crisis, posing urgent questions about the effectiveness of its cybersecurity systems.

This attack was just a taste of the devastation possible without concrete cybersecurity measures in place. Cyberattacks are no longer the reserve of individual hackers; they have the capacity to be highly sophisticated, malicious or even state-controlled. Whether it’s stealing and deleting patient records, tampering with door controls and security cameras, or hacking medical equipment such as MRI scanners and drug infusion pumps, cyberattacks need to be viewed as a threat to patient safety – not just an IT issue.

Cybersecurity awareness and reliable IT infrastructure must be prioritised and woven into the structural fabric of the NHS. Given its essential role to the population, the NHS simply cannot afford to be vulnerable to attacks. It’s vital that the public know that their health and data are in safe hands.

The good news? There are groundbreaking cybersecurity solutions that are revolutionising the future of safe and secure healthcare.

Cylera

‘Built with hospitals, for hospitals’, Cylera solves the complex technological and operational cybersecurity challenges that hospitals face.

Cylera has built a next-gen healthcare IoT (HIoT) cybersecurity and intelligence platform. The pioneering technology has been specifically created for hospitals, which separates it from every other IoT security company in the world.

It protects and manages the complete healthcare environment including connected medical devices, operational technology, and IoT devices. Delivering 360-degree visibility, insight, and protection for all managed or unmanaged connected devices, Cylera provides razor-sharp precision, even down to the use cases and clinical procedures linked to each device. Nowadays, with tens of thousands of IoT and medical devices accessing a hospital network, this is a game-changing level of visibility and security.

Vectra

Vectra is a detection and response platform. Offering full visibility, it shows exactly what is happening on a network. Users have an aerial view of where data is being gathered and what activity is taking place. When conducting yearly penetration tests, hospitals using Vectra reported that they could accurately assess what was occurring on the network in real-time, including any unusual activity. The platform helps reduce risks in the NHS as it can provide visibility into IoT devices or other systems which lack security controls from third parties.

Pentera

Pentera is a penetration testing technology that identities vulnerability. By mimicking a malicious attack, it can conduct ‘ethical exploits’, while ensuring an undisrupted network operation. As malicious hackers constantly evolve their techniques and tools, Pentera’s job is to keep one step ahead by using up-to-date hacker best practices. It conducts automatic penetration tests at regular intervals, so users have a comprehensive view of the entire connected environment and any potential weaknesses that need to be rectified.

Stealthbits

Stealthbits is a data access governance platform. It protects credentials and data from threats by removing inappropriate access. As an NHS trust comprises a complex behemoth of organisations and thousands of individuals, cybersecurity is an ongoing process. Recurring issues that urgently need addressing are password reinforcement and inappropriate network access. With Stealthbits, we can resolve open access, stale data and GDPR access to safeguard data and improve password security.

When it comes to medical cybersecurity, context is key. It’s impossible to understand the impact of a device if it has unknown vulnerabilities. An overarching cyber security strategy for the NHS must be considered a priority.

Rather than view this as a strenuous challenge, the healthcare sector needs to embrace this transition as an exciting opportunity to explore potential arenas, create industry-leading cybersecurity frameworks, and leverage technology to deliver exceptional healthcare in a post-COVID world.

If you have any questions about how cybersecurity can protect your healthcare organisation, contact our expert team is on hand to explain the technologies in more detail.

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