Healthcare cyber security boosted with funding from government

Last week, the Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman announced that hundreds of healthcare businesses are now able to receive free training and cyber certification to improve their cyber security. This came after a heightened cyber threat to the health sector in the UK was identified by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).

This announcement comes as part of London Tech Week, after the cyber threat to the UK Health sector has increased due to the pandemic. Cyber-crime groups have specifically targeted medical research organisations and pharmaceutical companies looking to steal intellectual property, sensitive intelligence and personal information.

£500,000 funding has been made available so that small and medium sized care providers and medical suppliers can receive consultancy and certification through the government funded programmes in the fight against cyber-crimes.

The Cyber Essentials certification provided by government will allow participants to receive support and guidance which includes training on how to ensure all devices like tablets, phones and computers are updated regularly and that the necessary precautions like firewalls are in place. They will also be taught the best ways are to implement and use access- controlled systems for employees who log onto the company database and network.

Support is also available for firms who would like a cyber expert to offer support to the organisation and analyse and identify any cyber security risks a company might have. A business continuity plan will also then be implemented.

Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman said:

“We know there is a heightened cyber threat for healthcare businesses at the moment so we are releasing new funding to help those playing a vital role in the pandemic response to remain resilient.

“I also urge all organisations to sign up to the government’s Cyber Essentials programme which contains a number of simple steps firms can take to get the fundamentals of good cyber security in place.”

Paul Chichester, the NCSC’s Director of Operations, said:

“Protecting healthcare has been our top priority during the Covid-19 pandemic and we have been working hard to ensure organisations can keep themselves secure.

“While we will continue to support them, signing up to initiatives such as Cyber Essentials are an excellent way for organisations to help themselves.

“Those who have not already taken up this offer should do so – it will help ensure they have fundamental security protections in place, even in the most challenging of times.”

According to the Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2020, in the last 12 months, 46 percent of businesses suffered a cyber breach and a third of them experiencing cyber-attacks at least once a week.

A non-profit app development firm recently graduated from the Cyber Essentials programme. Their products supported patients with Covid-19 throughout the pandemic and offered youth programmes to children who are under-privileged across the North East. The Cyber Essentials programme empowered the firm to put all the necessary cyber security measures in place to keep their data and users safe.

A Cyber Essentials participant from the healthcare sector said:

“As a key supplier of medical equipment to the NHS, we qualified for government funding for a Cyber Essentials check on our IT systems. It was simple to arrange, we found the assigned partner easy to work with and overall the service has been an excellent sanity check on our IT systems and processes to ensure we are working to the best current security practices. It is definitely worth doing if you can.”

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