Cylera, a leader in healthcare IoT intelligence and security, has signed a new three-year agreement with Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust, one of the largest hospital trusts in North Kent, serving a local population of half a million people.  

The agreement comes as the NHS remains a key target for malicious activity from cybercriminals around the world focused on national infrastructure systems and on disrupting essential services.

Only recently, two NHS Ambulance Trusts, the South Western Ambulance Service Foundation Trust, and the South Central Ambulance Service Trust, reported breaches that affected NHS workers’ access to patient records.    

According to reports, attacks on the healthcare sector globally are on the rise, increasing 60% in 2022 compared to the year before. Healthcare organisations around the world experience on average 1,426 attacks per week, with an estimated cost of £7.8m per successful breach.    

The Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust is home to over 11,000 connected medical and IoT devices and other equipment used for patient care and building management operations.

Like many healthcare settings across the country that are adopting technology to help improve and streamline services to patients, the trust has more than doubled its connected devices over the last three to four years, up from 5,000 to the current 11,000.    

Real-time assessment of cybersecurity landscape

“Investment in our digital infrastructure is fundamental as we continue our drive to provide better care for patients,” said Gary Hickinson, head of IT at Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust. “Our agreement with Cylera is a key part of our overall continuous cyber investment strategy.”     

Hickinson continued: “Over the next few years our digital landscape will continue to develop, with new medical devices and systems coming online. Solutions such as Cylera enable the trust to have full visibility into all connected medical devices, IoT, and other systems on the network.

“The solution provides full, accurate, and live profiles of each and every device, allowing the team to better manage the maintenance of this equipment, assess any potential risks, and proactively work with our suppliers and vendors to ensure any vulnerabilities are mitigated quickly and effectively.”    

Cylera’s patented technologies enable IT teams to view, profile, manage, and risk assess in real-time their entire cybersecurity landscape and connected environment, including medical devices, other connected IoT devices, and any vulnerabilities, in one centralised dashboard. Users can get a true, high-fidelity asset inventory of all devices connected to the network.   

Hickinson added: “We have been working closely with Cylera since 2021. Their solution identified the most vulnerabilities, around 15% more than competitor products.

“Cylera’s team of experts also understand our digital estate and how we are building for the future and are always on hand when we need them. As our hospital environments become more connected, it’s vital that we have in place the best systems to help protect what matters most – our patients and staff.”   

Back in May of this year we reported that Cylera has brought together world leaders in cyber security to form an Advisory Council to share insight and drive innovation to help tackle the many security challenges facing the rapidly digitalising healthcare sector.