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Accenture Lands Major NHS Cybersecurity Contract

Accenture has landed a major “perimeter security services” deal with NHS Digital to deploy tools from Palo Alto Networks and Imperva across the NHS.

NHS Digital will roll these out for “free” (centrally paid for and furnished) to NHS trusts. The tools include firewall, secure DNS and network intrusion solutions.

Widespread rollout will boost NHS Digital’s visibility of networks and endpoints across a sprawling and fragmented IT estate.

The five-year framework agreement is worth up to £40 million.

The contract comes amid a push by NHS Digital to get greater visibility over the NHS’s infrastructure in the wake of the Wannacry ransomware attack in May 2017, which hit 80 hospital trusts and 595 GP practices.

Not a single one of the trusts affected in the attack had applied patches recommended by NHS Digital, a report later found.

Accenture’s win comes a year after Parliament’s Public Accounts issued a blistering report on the government’s failure to prepare for cyberattacks against the NHS.

That report noted: “[The NHS] had not tested plans for responding to a cyber-attack, nor had any trust passed a cyber-security inspection”.

NHS Trusts have since boosted IT spending by nearly £152 million according to figures obtained through an FoI request by the Parliament Street think tank.

NHS Digital said: “These new services will build on the current offer from the Data Security Centre so that NHS organisations will be able to better secure and manage all of the digital networks that they operate and use. Expert security specialists within the NHS will now have an even broader view of cyber threats across the NHS, allowing them to spot and respond quickly to emerging problems, while reducing cyber risks.”

The contract was procured by NHS Digital, working with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and NHSX – a new digital transformation organisation for the NHS that launched in February that brings together “digital, data and tech”.

Rob Shaw, Deputy Chief Executive of NHS Digital, said: “This deal is great news for NHS organisations.  This is cutting-edge technology that will help keep patient information and NHS systems safe, at no cost to local organisations. For us, the more organisations that join, the better we will be able to see what is happening across the estate.

“This means that we will be able to monitor for threats more effectively, supporting the NHS to increase data security and helping to provide safer care for patients.”

Niamh McKenna, UK Health Lead at Accenture, said: “We are delighted to be supporting NHS Digital in this important journey. Security threats are ever more present in our increasingly connected world so enabling the safe and secure use of information within and outside the NHS is of paramount importance.”―CBR Online

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