New Microsoft deal to strengthen NHS cyber security

The Department of Health and Social Care has announced an agreement with Microsoft to ensure all NHS organisations are using the latest Windows 10 software, with updated security.

Having invested £60 million to address cyber security weaknesses since 2017, the government has revealed that a further £150 million will also be invested over the next three years to improve the NHS’s resilience against attacks. As part of the plans, a new digital security operations centre will be created which will allow NHS Digital to respond to cyber attacks more quickly, as well as enable trusts to detect threats, isolate infected machines and kill the threat before it spreads.

Additionally, £21 million will be spent to upgrade firewalls and network infrastructure at major trauma centre hospitals and ambulance trusts, while new powers will be given to the Care Quality Commission to inspect NHS trusts on their cyber and data security capabilities. To help clinicians when internet and email services are hindered or unusable, a new text messaging alert system will be deployed to ensure trusts have constant access to accurate information.

Jeremy Hunt, Health and Social Care Secretary, said: “We know cyber attacks are a growing threat, so it is vital our health and care organisations have secure systems which patients trust. We have been building the capability of NHS systems over a number of years, but there is always more to do to future-proof our NHS against this threat. This new technology will ensure the NHS can use the latest and most resilient software available – something the public rightly expect.”

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