Cyber Chief shares tips for Cyber Security Month

Mike Fell, NHS Digital's executive director of national cyber security operations has laid out his top security tips for health and social care workers as part of Cyber Security Awareness Month.

Fell joined NHS Digital in April having previously worked in security at HMRC and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

He said: “From email and social media to online banking and shopping, it has never been so crucial to take vital cyber security steps to prevent criminals getting hold of data, devices and accounts.

“Here in the NHS, getting cyber security wrong has the potential to cause significant impacts across the health and care system.

“If a GP can’t access their system, they may not be able to share life-saving prescriptions with pharmacies or critical information with hospitals. Similarly, cyber attacks can cause cancelled appointments and surgeries, possibly resulting in care diversion to other hospitals.

“Cyber security is as important as health and safety, and in just the same way it’s the responsibility of every person in the NHS to understand security risks and what they can do to reduce them. Fortunately there are a few simple steps we can all take to ensure we stay cyber resilient at home and work.”

Fell's 8 top tips include using a strong password to make it difficult to crack; being aware of phishing scams and reporting any suspicious emails; being mindful of what you share, for example by not wearing your ID pass in public; and watching out for tailgaters who may try to gain access to restricted areas.

He also urged staff to keep up to date with data training, lock computers and mobiles, be aware of the safety of public WiFi and make use of available resources. Resources include NHS Digital's Keep I.T. Confidential campaign, which helps organisations promote cyber security across their workforce.
Fell concluded by saying: “I understand how busy everyone is across the NHS right now, but I would encourage everyone to make sure cyber security is a top priority.

“Once you start taking these small steps, they will become a natural part of your day-to-day work, which will in turn help to make a massive difference to protecting crucial information as well as the safety of patients.”


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