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NHS inks three-year cybersecurity partnership with IBM

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

NHS Digital has entered into a three-year strategic partnership with IBM to provide a range of new and improved services to health and care organisations.

The additional services will expand NHS Digital’s existing Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC)3 and enhance NHS Digital’s current capability to monitor, detect and respond to a variety of security risks and threats across the NHS, and offer expert advice and guidance.

The CSOC expands on the existing cyber security services provided by NHS Digital and will include:

  • Enhanced services, such as vulnerability scanning and malware analysis, allowing NHS Digital to offer tailored and specialist advice to individual NHS organisations
  • Enhancement of NHS Digitals current monitoring capability enabling the analyses of data from multiple sources to detect threats across NHS Digital’s national systems and services
  • Access to IBM’s X-Force repository of threat intelligence to provide insight, guidance, and advice so health and care organisations can take appropriate action to prepare for, or mitigate against, identified risks and threats.
  • Security monitoring pilots across selected NHS organisations, to test a range of security technologies and identify appropriate solutions that could be rolled out across the NHS estate.
  • An innovation service which will allow NHS Digital to quickly access new tools technologies and expertise to address new threats as they emerge and to allow it to adapt services to meet the changing needs of the health and care sector.

Dan Taylor, Programme Director, Data Security Centre at NHS Digital, said: “This partnership will enhance our existing Cyber Security Operations Centre which is delivered from NHS Digital’s Data Security Centre. It will give us, during times of increased need, the ability to draw on a pool of dedicated professionals from IBM.

“It will build on our existing ability to proactively monitor for security threats, risks, and emerging vulnerabilities, while supporting the development of new services for the future and enabling us to better support the existing needs of local organisations. This will ensure that we can evolve our security capability in line with the evolving cyber threat landscape.

Rob Sedman, Director of Security, IBM UK and Ireland said: “IBM is excited to partner with NHS Digital and bring enhanced detection and incident response co-ordination capabilities to its Data Security Centre.”

Embrace AI, say cyber security professionals

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The global head of security intelligence at IBM Nick Coleman has called for cyber professionals to embrace the world of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation.

During the Isaca CSX Europe 2017 conference in London, Coleman said that without embracing the worlds of AI and automation, security execs will be “obsolete in three of four years.”

“The threats are becoming so serious that we need to embed artificial intelligence and automation into security processes so that we can be more intelligent and efficient in our response.

“We should be looking at each of these areas and finding ways to embed AI and automation wherever it makes sense to do so to improve efficiency, and thereby improve capability and, ultimately, enable greater business resilience,” Coleman said.

Coleman added that as the cyber security world becomes more sophisticated, the number of threats will continue, highlighting the need to automate as much as possible.

Commenting on IBM’s Watson super computer and the ability of it to ingest four million security-related documents an hour, Coleman added: ““Research shows that around a third of their time is spent gathering and processing information, but this is something that can be automated.

“We already have automated planes and ships, and relatively soon we will have self-driving cars, so they should be looking to where it makes most sense to automate in cyber security to make sure they are ready for the future and have developed the skills to deliver value on top of automation.”