The NHS was crippled earlier this year by the Wannacry cyber-attacks, which happened largely because the service was not keeping up to date with the latest versions of Microsoft’s software.
Now NHS Scotland has signed a new agreement with Microsoft to deploy Office 365 and migrate all systems to Windows 10 E5 Enterprise with Advanced Threat Protection security suite during the next three years in an effort to boost cyber resilience and mitigate any potential threats.
“We’re creating the environment and the tools to allow staff and services to flourish. At the moment they are too often hampered by systems that don’t join up or make collaboration easy,” said Jeane Freeman, who was appointed as Scotland’s Health Secretary in June this year.
Freeman explained this included the development of a new national digital platform and setting out “common standards and approaches for healthcare systems”. All 161,000 NHS Scotland staff will also be given access to Office 365, which would allow support workers to GPs to hospital consultants to easily share data.
Earlier this year, the UK Department of Health and Social Care agreed a centralised deal with Microsoft, enabling all NHS organisations to use Windows 10 and strengthen their cyber defence capabilities. Health bodies were given a deadline of 14th January 2020 to upgrade to Windows 10, the same date as support for Windows 7 was due to end.
Commenting on today’s announcement, Geoff Huggins, Director of the NES Digital Service told Healthcare IT News:
“We’re building a joined-up health and social care system, based on a National Digital Platform, so that people can get the best care, regardless of where they are. Moving to 365 is a fundamental building-block in that process.”
NHS Scotland has the option to extend its three-year agreement with Microsoft for a further two years under similar terms.