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Data encryption for Scottish health service

Lumension Security : 05 November, 2008  (Application Story)
Lothian health service responds to needs for improved patient data protection by deploying encryption technology
NHS Lothian has implemented the latest in high-spec encryption security and data protection technology to help better protect patient records and other sensitive and confidential information governed under the Data Protection Act.
In response to a recent incident that led to the loss of patient data, NHS Lothian teamed up with its ICT partner, Glasgow-based Northgate Information Solutions (Northgate), to conduct a review of its security protocols that govern the electronic use and transport of confidential information.

As a result of the review, the latest in encryption and device control technology, Lumension Security's Sanctuary Device Control and Becrypt Disk & Connect protect were selected for implementation across the NHS Lothian ICT and laptop estate. The combined solutions cover more than 25,000 employees and complement existing record handling policies.

Sanctuary Device Control is being used to eliminate data leakage and prevent the introduction of malware by enforcing NHS Lothian policies regarding the use of all removable media. It has assigned user permissions across the 11,000-device estate, thus ensuring that only authorised users can write data from the network onto removable media while protecting data-at-rest and data-in-motion.

The system utilises Lumension Security's 'Positive Security Model with Sanctuary', meaning that only known and trusted removable devices are authorised to connect to the network. Any unknown or unauthorised devices will not be able gain access by default, preventing data loss or theft. In addition, Sanctuary Data Protection encrypts all approved devices, including USB drives, CDs and DVDs, delivers detailed forensics of device usage and data transfer and prevents malware introduction via removable media.

To ensure that NHS Lothian can demonstrate governance and policy compliance at any given time, Sanctuary provides the Lothian eHealth Department with a comprehensive audit log of all devices that have attempted to connect to the network, including those by unauthorised users. The system offers an option to create a back up copy of data downloaded to and from authorised removable devices.

The 'Becrypt' element of the implementation works by providing whole disk encryption for all NHS Lothian laptops. Unauthorised users cannot access data on these laptops, as they have to go through a User Authentication process.
Commenting on the new security Martin Egan, Director of eHealth with NHS Lothian said, "Data management and its security is an issue that we take very seriously, and is an area that requires careful monitoring and constant review. Recent well-publicised incidents have highlighted the need to ensure that ICT systems are robust and offer the proper levels of security and that regular staff training is conducted to ensure the proper management of patient records is adhered to."

Mr Egan continued, "Northgate responded to our needs professionally and have provided a security solution that has allowed my team to gain complete control over what users can access and what information can be transferred to portable storage device (USB sticks) while providing the necessary flexibility to ensure end user satisfaction. Staff are being re-trained, and the importance of information handling and its management has been reinforced. I am confident that these new measures will ensure that further incidents will be avoided and that the NHS Lothian model will be seen an industry best practice model."

James Turnbull, Managing Director of Northgate's Infrastructure Solutions division added, "The issue of data security is one that is effecting more and more organisations in today's technology based business environment. NHS Lothian has moved quickly to update its security protocols and to ensure the proper handling of sensitive and confidential patient information by its staff. I am confident that the solutions provided will only help to reassure patients that any information being held is done so securely."
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