IBM has secured a £30m contract from NHS Digital to bolster the organisation’s cyber security capabilities.

Under a three-year partnership, IBM will provide a range of enhanced data security services to NHS Digital’s cyber security operations centre (CSOC) that will enable it to strengthen the protection it offers health and care organisations.

This includes penetration testing and malware analysis, incident response support and threat monitoring across national NHS systems and services.

NHS Digital put out a tender for an external partner to expand its CSOC in November 2017 as part of efforts to patch up weaknesses in its security defences, which were laid bare during 2017’s WannaCry incident.

The value of the contract was raised from £20m to £30m in February after the NHS released more funding for cyber security.

Dan Taylor, programme director of NHS Digital’s data security centre, said the partnership would “strengthen how we help to keep patient information and services safe and secure, enabling NHS staff and patients to have confidence in the security of our system.”

Taylor added: “This partnership [will] give us, during times of increased need, the ability to draw on a pool of dedicated professionals from IBM.

“It will build on our existing ability to proactively monitor for security threats, risks, and emerging vulnerabilities, while supporting the development of new services for the future and enabling us to better support the existing needs of local organisations.

“This will ensure that we can evolve our security capability in line with the evolving cyber threat landscape.”

Through the partnership, NHS Digital will get access to IBM’s X-Force Threat Intelligence suite, which provides up-to-date information regarding the global threat landscape so that organisations can take pre-emptive measures.

IBM will also help NHS Digital run pilots aimed at identifying the most appropriate security monitoring technologies for NHS organisations, and provide advice and guidance to staff.

Rob Sedman, director of security at IBM UK and Ireland, said: “IBM is excited to partner with NHS Digital and bring enhanced detection and incident response co-ordination capabilities to its Data Security Centre”.