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The Health Service Journal has revealed that the NHS has suffered yet another data breach; this time compromising the personal data of hundreds of staff.
Information about hundreds of junior doctors was reportedly published online in error. The NHS has been plagued by so many data breaches that it doesn’t seem like such a surprise to hear about this story. The healthcare sector is a goldmine for data breaches for a range of reasons, like the value of medical records, as well as the general sensitivity of medical information as well.
The NHS has seen thousands of personal records compromised due to internal administrative errors. The NHS regularly appears in the news for simple mistakes that end up breaching thousands of patients’ rights to confidentiality. From accidentally uploading information, to sending confidential emails to patients without hiding recipient names from each other, there have been a huge number of breaches, and some have been very serious indeed.
These types of data breaches are completely preventable, and there are IT systems and better forms of digital infrastructure to help with this.
Phil Codd, a managing director at SQS (Software Quality Systems) Group, denounced the data breach:
“The news that NHS staff’s personal details have been made public due to a data breach shows vulnerabilities in the NHS’ IT infrastructure”
The NHS seems to be constantly breaching data protection rules and compromising patient confidentiality rights. This suggests there remains a lack of adequate security and procedures to prevent such breaches from happening.
Phil Codd added:
“It has always been important to protect personal data, and the reality of today’s ever changing digital environment, organisations need to fully understand their data models; get to grips with their potentially unstructured and poorly managed data, and put processes in place to keep it safe.”
The answer is simple: sort out proper data protection protocols and have adequate systems in place.
However, we’re all aware that the NHS has been subjected to a lot of budget cuts, and this, combined with a shortage of staff, can make it much more difficult to allocate enough resources to prevent breaches from happening.
Updating software can be time-consuming and very costly. Some NHS hospitals continue to use older versions of computer software as decision makers are reluctant to update systems because of the costs involved.
The problem is that these outdated systems can be more defenseless to malware attacks; an easy example of this is the WannaCry ransom incident earlier this year. This malicious digital worm reportedly targeted devices that used older software because they were full of vulnerabilities.
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