NHS trusts and hospitals will soon receive world-class perimeter security services to prevent cyber attacks, thanks to a new contract signed between NHS Digital and Accenture earlier this week.
The new contract paves the way for Accenture to provide NHS organisations with advanced perimeter security services which will be free-to-adopt and will allow security experts at such organisations to spot and respond quickly to emerging cyber threats.
Advanced perimeter security services offered by Accenture will, according to NHS Digital, include a next-generation firewall, secure filtering for web content, a data loss prevention service, secure DNS services, as well as network intrusion detection and prevention capabilities.
"This deal is great news for NHS organisations. This is cutting-edge technology that will help keep patient information and NHS systems safe, at no cost to local organisations. For us, the more organisations that join, the better we will be able to see what is happening across the estate," said Rob Shaw, Deputy Chief Executive of NHS Digital.
"This means that we will be able to monitor for threats more effectively, supporting the NHS to increase data security and helping to provide safer care for patients," he added.
NHS Digital expanding its Data Security Centre
Last year, NHS Digital had also entered into a three-year strategic partnership with IBM to provide a range of services to healthcare organisations and to enhance NHS Digital’s capability to monitor, detect and respond to a variety of security risks and threats across the NHS.
Dan Taylor, Programme Director of the Data Security Centre at NHS Digital, said that the partnership will help NHS Digital to proactively monitor for security threats, risks, and emerging vulnerabilities, while supporting the development of new services for the future and enabling it to better support the existing needs of local organisations.
In September, NHS Digital also issued a tender worth between £1.5 million and £1.65 million for the supply of a Project Management Office (PMO) and a Security Demand & Supply Management (SDSM) Team that would suppport an expanded Data Security Centre.
According to NHS Digital, the Data Security Centre enables the safe and secure use of data and technology by healthcare organisations to manage cyber security risk and to deliver improved patient care.
The centre issues a range of cyber security threat notifications to health and care organisations, helps organisations to assess their data and cyber security practices, and undertakes a range of national and local monitoring services, designed to identify vulnerabilities, uncover suspicious behaviour and block malicious activity.