NHS Trust cyber security spending increases fivefold

Dramatic rise in cyber security spending at leading NHS Trust shows that information security and patient privacy is high on the health service agenda

by the commentator on 6 January 2015 15:48

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National Health Service (NHS) Trusts are forecast to make significant investments in in cyber security measures to protect patient data, research from security experts Veracode has revealed.

The newly published data showed that Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which employees 2200 staff who care for 185,000 people, has increased spending on cyber security fivefold since 2012.

The data, obtained by Veracode under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) shows that total spending on information security technologies at the Trust has increased from £8,250 in 2012 to £41,546 in 2014. The figures showed increased investment in mobile device management (MDM) technologies, a sign of the increasing presence of tablet computers and mobile devices at use in the health sector.

Spending on MDM technologies went up from £37,825 in 2013 to £16,800 in 2014, representing more than 40% of the total data security budget. 

Both the Conservatives and the Labour party have pledged billions of pounds of extra investment for front-line services within the NHS as part of their election manifestos.

Prime Minister David Cameron has described the service as ‘precious’ to him and has family, whilst opposition Labour leader Ed Miliband has accused the Conservatives of putting the NHS at risk.

Chris Wysopal, chief information security officer and co-founder of Veracode, indicated that the increased investment underlined the importance the organisation is placing on protecting confidential patient data.

“As part of the government’s aim of creating a paperless NHS, more and more information on patients’ identities and their medical requirements is being held online in digital form, and it’s critical to prevent cyber criminals from accessing this sensitive information.

“With cyber attackers increasingly targeting web and mobile applications, it’s encouraging to see that the trust is taking the steps necessary to reduce the risk of data breaches by preventing malicious applications from being downloaded by employees onto their mobile devices.

“At the same time, organisations rely increasingly on web and mobile applications to operate, which further increases the attack surface available to cyber attackers,” Wysopal added. 

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