NHS Digital has signed a support contract with Microsoft, three months after the WannaCry ransomeware attacks that targeted Windows computers.
The attacks on the NHS highlighted the need for investment, lack of infrastructure and the need for training among NHS staff, along with the fact that the NHS relies on Windows XP, an obsolete operating system that raised questions about the resilience of the service’s IT systems.
The Government recently announced it would boost investment in NHS data and cyber security above the £50 million outlined in the Spending Review, addressing key structural weaknesses as part of its commitment to improve NHS cyber security, with an initial £21 million delivered to increase cyber security at major trauma sites as a priority, along with improvement of NHS Digital’s national monitoring and response capabilities.
The support contract with Microsoft will cover all NHS organisations throughout the UK until June 2018 and provide a “centralised, managed and coordinated framework for the detection of malicious cyber activity through its enterprise threat detection software.”
A statement by the NHS added that the service “analyses intelligence and aims to reduce the likelihood and impact of security breaches or malware infection across the NHS.”
“One of NHS Digital’s key roles is to work closely with other national partners to explore and provide additional layers of cyber security support to NHS organisations when they need it – with the aim of minimising disruption to NHS services and patients,” the statement concluded.