NHS South of Tyne and Wear is adopting a layered approach to device security in the light of public concern over data breaches.

The management structure, which covers Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland Teaching primary care trusts, is using FrontRange Solutions’ Device Wall to control the transfer of information to encrypted devices, alongside McAfee endpoint encryption and SanDisk Cruzer Professional USB encrypted memory sticks.

As Device Wall is rolled out this month, it is also running an awareness campaign about data security and new restrictions that will be placed on the transfer of data to removable storage devices.

As a default policy, no users will be allowed to transfer data to non-approved devices. Employees will have to put forward a business case to be allowed to transfer data to approved devices, and access will be granted only if it is deemed appropriate.

The organisation has replaced 800 memory sticks with encrypted devices and once port control across all endpoints is enabled, staff will only be able to use the devices they are authorised to use.

Technical project manager Darren Piper said: “The data breaches that have been in the media recently have damaged the public’s confidence in the public sector’s ability to safeguard data, but we are taking every possible step to ensure confidential information remains secure.”

Following the loss of child benefit records by HM Revenue and Customs, a new framework was drawn up to tighten data security across government.

NHS chief executive David Nicholson has written to NHS chief executives on at least two occasions to tell them to encrypt all data in transit and to take more control of data flows within their organisations.

Despite this, the Information Commissioner’s Office has identified the NHS as a serial offender when it comes to data breaches.

Matt Fisher, director at FrontRange Solutions said: “By implementing a layered approach to security that not only encompasses several distinct technologies but a strong user education programme, NHS South of Tyne and Wear has shown a high level of commitment to the issue of protecting sensitive information.”

Link: FrontRange Solutions