If hospitals don’t take cybersecurity seriously, a series of small issues could be as bad as a major cyberattack like WannaCry, warns NHS Digital chief.
Healthcare providers risk ‘death by a thousand cuts’ if they take a poor approach to implementing cybersecurity and protecting networks and patient data.
The UK’s National Health Service employs 1.2 million people and is currently in the midst of a drive to offer a more digital form of healthcare: fewer doctors and nurses carrying pens and paper, more with access to digital health records, and patient after-care via apps. But security has a central role to play.
“Those organisations which are successful in their transformation journey are those which make cybersecurity and data protection an obligation from the board to the bedside,” said Daniel Jeffery, head of innovation and delivery at NHS Digital, the driving force behind information technology transformation in England.
“Everybody in the organisation knows what they should be doing, what they need to do, how to treat data in that respect and the security elements with that,” he said.
It’s small, simple things which can make a big difference, Jeffery told the audience at at LORCA Live 2019, a cybersecurity conference in London. He cited little things like not writing usernames and passwords on post-it notes and sticking them to screens, or simply making sure data is backed up.
The key is to realise the opportunities from the digital revolution from a health and care perspective, but also making sure security is built in from the beginning Jeffery said. “Ultimately, cybersecurity is an enabler of the digital revolution,” he added.
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