This week, we were thrilled to participate in the Holyrood Communications Connect’s Public Sector Cyber Security event in Edinburgh. We showcased how our solutions can help strengthen the digital infrastructure of public sector organisations against the ever-evolving cyber threats.
Incorporating robust digital technologies brings many benefits and significantly enhanced efficiency and coordination, which are critical objectives for providing effective public services. However, as public sectors, such as education, fire departments, local authorities, police services, and NHS, increasingly adopt interconnected systems and cloud-based and smart technologies to enhance their services, the cyber threat landscape grows exponentially. This exposes them to evolving cybersecurity challenges and new threats, ensuring their cybersecurity robustness is more important than ever.
In recent years, cyber incidents have affected public sectors the most, leading to increased cyber insurance costs and causing concern among governments due to their impact on critical national infrastructure and the potential to endanger public health and safety. One prime example is the healthcare sector, a high-value target due to the value of patient medical data and the urgency caused by service interruptions that can threaten lives.
Healthcare organisations must protect their information systems against cybersecurity threats while maintaining high-quality health and social care. All these services rely on trust and the understanding that sensitive information is only shared with authorised individuals. However, organisations increasingly digitise, it becomes more challenging to maintain the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of sensitive patient data.
Although systems in the public sector have been updated since the infamous WannaCry ransomware incident that caused significant disruption to the NHS in 2017, the ransomware threat is still accurate. The introduction of IoT and other connected devices to healthcare facilities has also placed an additional burden on security teams that are already overworked. Regular security awareness training is required to better deal with other potential cyber risks, such as not giving out work email addresses unnecessarily, using best practices for passwords, and educating staff on understanding common suspicious email campaigns.
Maintaining a strong defence against cyber threats is no easy task, but with proper training and awareness, health and care organisations can achieve healthy confidence in their security.
NHS DSP Toolkit – What is it?
The NHS has developed the Data Security and Protection Toolkit. This self assessment tool helps healthcare organisations evaluate their performance against the National Data Guardian’s ten data security standards. These standards are set up to protect sensitive data and critical services that may be affected by disruptions caused by cyberattacks or other IT system problems. Therefore, organisations with access to NHS patient data or systems must use the NHS DSP toolkit to ensure good data security and protect personal information.
National Data Guardian – Data Security Standards Explained
The National Data Guardian is an independent advisory body that critically advises and challenges England’s health and social care system. Its primary focus is data confidentiality, security, and patient data choice. The National Data Guardian (NDG) has outlined 10 data security standards under three leadership obligations: People, Process, and Technology, which apply to all companies that handle health and social care information.
These standards ensure patients’ confidential information is securely kept and used appropriately. By committing to these standards, organisations can safeguard their reputation and build trust with patients and service users. The standards ensure that employees are equipped to handle information respectfully and safely. The organisation proactively prevents data security breaches and responds appropriately to any breaches or near misses. Moreover, a continuity plan is in place to respond to data security threats, including significant data breaches.
Adopting NDG’s data security standards is a responsible and ethical decision demonstrating the organisation’s commitment to protecting patients’ information and ensuring better health and care service outcomes.
How can we help you stay compliant?
Sapphire offers various compliance services and specialised compliance software specifically tailored to the unique needs of the public sector. This software can help you easily monitor your compliance status and navigate the complexities of cyber compliance. It provides transparent reporting and improvement planning across multiple compliance frameworks, including the NHS DPS toolkit.
It’s essential to note that the deadline for the NHS DSP toolkit is June 30, 2024, for all NHS Trusts, ALBs, CSUs, Key IT Suppliers, and Operators of Essential Services (OESs) under the Network and Information Systems (NIS) Directive. When combined with an independent on-site assessment, the DSP toolkit provides the same level of control as Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus.
If you need assistance in achieving compliance and navigating the complexities of cyber compliance, please get in touch with one of our experts today.