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The importance of people and process in the fight to secure NHS data

The computer virus which affected Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust in November is a further reminder that NHS organisations need to remain constantly on their guard against security breaches. As no ransom was demanded, it’s likely to have been a random attack, but reports suggest that 28 trusts have been hit by ransomware attacks in the last year. Additionally, the NHS was the UK’s biggest victim of data breaches in 2015 according to the Information Commissioner’s Office. To help Trusts tackle these threats, the National Data Guardian Review was published in July 2016. The results of the public consultation into its recommendations are still to be published, but the key points made in the Review are relevant to across all sectors. It points out th......nhsdata
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Beware cloud shock!

Have you been tempted by the falling costs of public cloud services? The big players are improving their offers all the time, and with some also setting up UK data centres to meet forthcoming GDPR requirements, server/instances of a few pounds per month can look like a very good deal. And for many organisations and many services, it is. However, as with any offer, the devil is in the detail, and you need to know exactly what you’re buying if you don’t want a nasty shock when your first bill arrives. Once you’ve made the move, you’re stuck with whatever the provider offers unless you migrate again, which is likely to be time consuming, risky, and will disrupt your business. A useful analogy is creating your org......Beware cloud shock
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Creating a baseline of your IT security

With security breaches and stolen user credentials almost constantly in the national headlines, no organisation can consider itself safe from cyber attack. The revelation of the medical records of Olympic athletes demonstrates that even organisations which know they are likely to a target can be penetrated by a determined hacker. Fortunately, most of us are not high profile athletes and therefore unlikely to be of interest to the ‘Fancy Bears’, but with organisations from Lincolnshire County Council to Bournemouth University reporting ransomware attacks, there are clearly are lots of people out there with malicious intent. One baseline security posture that should be in every organisation’s cyber security portfolio is Cyber Essentials. This is a scheme set up by the Government that aims to help organisations implem......Cyber Security Image
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Is the plan for a paperless NHS in danger of missing the point?

The ambition for the NHS to be ‘paperless at the point of delivery’ has already been revised from 2018 to 2020, but a recent survey found that almost half (46%) of healthcare directors and CIOs polled said they were unsure over whether they would meet this deadline. We’ve already seen one failed project to create a single, secure system of electronic patient records for every GP and hospital in the country – the ill-fated National Programme for IT (NPfIT). Will NHS trusts facing the challenge of digitising vast quantities of historical records fare any better? The problem is that the project seems to be primarily about digitising existing processes. But as Dave Coplin from Microsoft said at our recent Customer Forum, using technology to make old working......
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Developing a data security strategy

Government research published earlier this month found that two-thirds of large businesses had been hit by a cyber breach or cyber attack in the last year. Security has now become a strategic risk management issue and needs Board level support. Mobile working means that the nature of security has also changed. It’s no longer about protecting the network perimeter but about protecting business data, which is regularly accessed from, stored and sent outside the organisation. We suggest a four step process to develop an effective data security strategy: Work out and define what level of security controls your organisation requires. You will almost certainly need a policy and some controls. You need to ensure that these controls and enforcement are commensurate with the value of the d......
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Practical tips to protect your organisation against ransomware

Encryption-based ransomware such as CryptoLocker or CryptoWall are on the rise. Fordway has been made aware of these emerging attacks on personal computers, servers and even network-based storage devices. Because of its stealthy nature and disastrous effects, ransomware is commonly perceived as a sophisticated, highly destructive and unstoppable malware threat. Here are some tips to help you protect yourself: Make sure you have a good backup policy and test it regularly Update your Operating System and keep it updated and patched Install a reputable security suite (AV, firewall, web filtering etc) Check your network security permissions and disable RDP access where possible Educate your staff to think twice before opening email attachments or clicking files from unknown sources. Get them to watch out for suspicious files......
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