Safeguarding Vital Patient Data in the Public Sector

Back in 2017, the NHS suffered a widespread cybersecurity attack. WannaCry crippled multiple NHS trusts and brought frontline clinical services to their knees up and down the country.

Obviously, there were investigations and lessons were learned, but the danger still remains. The NHS wasn’t even the main target of the attack, so a targeted attack is inherently cause for concern. And if NHS Trusts are to remove the possibility of a reoccurrence, data security and disaster recovery are vital operational factors that need to be assessed and enhanced in line with the NHSX shared directive.

Safeguarding data

With limited budgets and an inability to attract the quality of talent to safeguard NHS operations, it’s no surprise that NHS systems are more vulnerable than the average private sector organisation.

74% of non-profits do not use multifactor authentication to access accounts.1

But that is only one of many real-world challenges that makes it near-impossible for the public sector to adequately secure their data:

  • Knowledge gaps leave entry vectors vulnerable for sophisticated cyber threats
  • Not enough resources to identify, assess, and mitigate security risks
  • Large numbers of staff make it hard to disseminate security best practice
  • Teams are overwhelmed with the range of available offerings

But when the right solution is put in place, the benefits are transformational. Not only for the internal operation, but also in terms of service delivery for patients. Their personal information is secure, and Trusts can dramatically reduce their costs, meaning more resources for frontline services as well as the potential to hire more clinicians.

So how are NHS Trusts to overcome these roadblocks? The most efficient way is by partnering with an IT expert that can advise on the best solution to meet their specific needs.

Disaster recovery

While strong data security is always the best line of defence, it would be irresponsible not to consider the necessary actions required to recover from the effects of a breach, outage or hardware fault that affects a Trust’s systems.

Co-location services are an efficient solution to lost data, not only enabling quick data recovery if storage devices fail or are mistakenly wiped, but it also ensures reliability, during a connectivity blackout or data centre outage.

It also ensures you have a ‘clean’ version of your data in case an on-site servers failure or if it’s infected by ransomware such as the WannaCry virus, which is especially important to protect 24/7 services.

73% of IT Leaders feel they are unable to meet the demands for uninterrupted access to apps and data

Though there is a solution. Through a combination of strong Service Level Agreements, robust connectivity, and data storage technologies like Hyperconvergence, NHS trusts can minimise the possibility of suffering an outage and ‘failover’ to secondary data sources, if the worst should happen.

Download our Datasheet to discover 40 ways BDR can recover your data

Virtualisation and Hyperconvergence

One of the great enablers of enhanced data protection and reliability is the combination of virtualisation and hyperconvergence.

Virtualisation essentially consists of running multiple devices from one central server. Not only does this the reduce the cost of on-site hardware, with lower computational and storage requirements, but it also provides better data protection. This is because IT managers can maintain and update thousands of systems at the same time, rather than having to physically interact with each individual device to perform essential security updates.

Hyperconvergence on the other hand, is a relatively new technology that enables devices to share their computational potential and data storage. Meaning that if one hard drive fails, the data is already available from another location, and if servers are getting overloaded, they can offload their processes to other networked devices.

In summary, if NHS Trusts are to seamlessly transition to a more flexible mode of working, streamline operations, protect client data, and expand services, they need to harness these technologies to their full potential. And that’s where BDR Group can help.

With multiple NHS Trust partnerships that have lasted more than two decades, BDR’s engineering team and system designers have the experience to deploy the right services within budget and on time.

Download our case study to discover how virtualisation helped Medway Community Healthcare save resources and deploy new Covid-19 patient services faster than they could ever imagined. Or, get in touch to let us know the challenges you’re facing and what BDR Group can do to resolve them.

1. The Nonprofit Guidelines for Cybersecurity and Privacy whitepaper, 2017, Microsoft Corporation.
2. Veeam Data Protection Report 2020.