NHS Digital Bolsters Cyber Security Defences With Expanded CareCERT Service

Three new cyber security services will provide assessment and guidance on how NHS healthcare organisations can protect themselves

NHS Digital is expanding its cyber security defences by rolling out three services to provide proactive advice and guidance for healthcare organisations to protect themselves from hacker threats.

CareCERT Knowledge will offer a new e-learning portal for NHS organisations to train their staff to learn the basics of cyber security in order to act as the first line of defence to secure patient data.

CareCERT Assure is a service to help healthcare organisations assess their local cyber security capabilities against established industry standards and receive recommendations on how to reduce identified vulnerabilities and improve their data security measures.

The third service is CareCERT React, which as the name suggests, offers professional guidance and advice on how to respond to cyber attacks and take action to reduce the impact of such incidents.

NHS data protection

data protectionCyber security for the NHS comes from NHS Digital’s CareCERT arm setup last year by the Health and Social Care Information Centre to manage risk posed to patient data such as theft and accidental leaking of records.

Public health and innovation minister Nicola Blackwood highlighted the need for CareCERT in the NHS as a means to combat growing cyber security threats where wide-spread target vectors end up encompassing the healthcare sector.

“The risks from cyber attacks are ongoing and ever changing across all sectors, and often cyber attacks on the NHS are not seeking health data specifically, but have targeted a range of sectors with the same attack,” she said.

“But we need to make sure that health and social care information is protected with the highest possible standards of security. NHS Digital’s CareCERT service will help over 1.3 million NHS staff and those working in care staff boost their awareness and knowledge, as well as helping organisations improve their defences and keep valuable patient information secure.

“If the worst should happen, the service will also help organisations respond as quickly as possible. I would encourage all health and care organisations to sign up to CareCERT and make the most of this valuable resource.”

Boosting the digital skills of NHS staff also runs in parallel with improving their cyber security knowledge, with the government having promised up to £10 million to develop advanced digital practices as 12 NHS trusts.

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