NHS Blood and Transplant is rolling out a project to protect data on laptops, PCs, USB sticks and other portable media.

The project was launched in 2008 to meet government requirements to protect mobile devices from malware, data loss and theft. The agency is working with Integralis, which provides IT security services, and solutions from Check Point.

NHSBT said the sensitive nature of the personal data involved in the process of organ donation meant that information security was of paramount importance.

Adam Ataar, its network security and operations consultant, said: “With 1,000 laptops across the UK, there are multiple security requirements. These range from maintaining firewalls, to intrusion detection, email and web content filtering to name a few.

“Due to the very nature of our operations we needed a solution that would be easy to manage and as simple as possible to use.”

A key issue for NHSBT was being able to provide access to documents and emails for staff working away from the office, without compromising security.

Ataar continued: “Users shouldn’t be given the responsibility for deciding what should and should not be encrypted, or to maintain security policies. These policies have to be enforced by products, as transparently as possible from the user’s viewpoint.”

Part of the project involves giving staff their own, fully-encrypted 2GB USB drive. Use of all other removable media is blocked.

Graham Jones, managing director at Integralis UK said: “The very nature of the service’s work means that flexible remote working is an essential requirement.

“By analysing and updating the process and policies we have been able to provide a granular level of control, ensuring that data can flow in a traceable and secure manner while enabling users to work efficiently and effectively as possible.”

NHSBT collects, processes, stores and issues 2.1 million blood donations per year from its 15 blood centres in the England and North Wales and manages the sourcing of organs for transplantation across the UK.

The project also involved securing a key application which allows staff across most of the UK access to data that speeds up provision of organs to patients waiting for transplants.

 

Related article: Software replaces fax and phone for organ allocation

Link: Integralis