NHS seeks to improve its cybersecurity game

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NHS seeks to spend £ 20million on central cybersecurity unit that will use ‘ethical hackers’ to probe weaknesses in health services defenses

“Analyzing and automating security operations will likely be the key to their success. As the NHS captures more and more patient data, it will have to deal with more and more information and fewer people to manage the organization’s networks.

In a year when the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) experienced its biggest network breach in the global WannaCry ransomware attack, the health service decided to take action.

It has been announced that NHS Digital will invest £ 20million in a cybersecurity team, which will focus on protecting the NHS against cyber attacks, while improving the network’s cyber defense.

The investment, in part, will see the formation of an “ethical hacking” unit, which will probe the NHS network for any weaknesses, to identify where hackers might attack.

> See also: NHS prioritizes cybersecurity to improve patient care and confidencet

Commenting on the cybersecurity initiative, Rob Bolton, director and general manager, Western Europe, at Infoblox, said that “the news that NHS Digital is investing in a dedicated cybersecurity unit is incredibly welcome.”

“The healthcare industry is now faced with major challenges which force it to modernize, reform and improve services to meet the increasingly complex and instantaneous demands of patients as well as regulatory requirements. Having a dedicated team of ethical hackers will allow the NHS to identify, respond to and remedy active threats much more effectively. This will allow the NHS to continue its digital transformation with a renewed sense of trust. “

Talent barrier

Justin Coker, VP EMEA at Skybox Security, believes this plan is a step in the right direction, however, the lack of readily available cybersecurity talent could be a major obstacle to its implementation.

“With NHS funding already insufficient, a rapid change in the evolution of their cyber capacity is needed to help prevent more attacks similar to WannaCry. The idea of ​​strengthening the NHS ‘cybersecurity skills pool and harnessing the expertise of ethical hackers is certainly a good start, however, the NHS will be fighting for the same talent, already in short supply, with other organizations, many with more in-depth skills. pockets.”

> See also: NHS ‘will be hit by more cyber attacks’

“Regardless of their talent and availability to work for the NHS, these new cybersecurity experts will need to have tools that augment their existing talents, especially to visualize and identify threats and vulnerabilities quickly and effectively in order to increase the resilience and cyber hygiene of the organization by locking their attack surface in a proactive modus operandi.

“Analyzing and automating security operations will likely be the key to their success. As the NHS captures more and more patient data, it will have to deal with more and more information and fewer people to manage the organization’s networks. Analysis and automation will play a critical role in improving the efficiency of discovery and, more importantly, prioritization of the vulnerabilities that put the organization most at risk. This will provide NHS teams with context and guidance on exactly where to prioritize remediation efforts. “

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