A single NHS Trust, Yeovil District Hospital in Somerset, has dramatically boosted its security spend to cope with the rise in threats and use of mobile devices, a Freedom of Information (FoI) request by security firm Veracode has suggested.
The firm's analysis found that for both 2009 and 2010 Yeovil was spending a paltry £2,500 on security, all on anti-virus licenses. This jumped to £7,847 in 2011, £8,250 in 2012, before soaring to £45,785 in 2013 and £41,546 in 2014.
Computerworld understands that this data nugget was pulled out form a larger study of security spending across NHS Trusts, which means it is hard to draw any wider conclusions about other NHS Trusts until that is published.
In the meantime, the way the investment was directed is probably as interesting as the level of increase. By 2014, anti-virus still consumes the same £2,500 it did in 2009 but additional endpoint security (£9,390), firewalling (£12,856), and mobile device management (£16,800) underline the demands being placed on budgets.
"Investment in cyber security is understandably on the rise, as cyber attackers increasingly use more sophisticated tools," commented Veracode CTO and founder.
"At the same time, organisations rely increasingly on web and mobile applications to operate, which further increases the attack surface available to cyber attackers."
"With cyber attackers increasingly targeting web and mobile applications, it's encouraging to see that the Trust is taking the steps necessary to reduce the risk of data breaches by preventing malicious applications from being downloaded by employees onto their mobile devices."
In fact, it's not clear from Veracode's figures that MDM covers web app security or simply systems to keep tabs on and provision mobile devices.
Is Yeovil a typical example? That's hard to say without some comparison with other Trusts. The increase in spending might have more to do with the changing nature of NHS provision than the changing nature of security per se. It could also partly reflect a natural and occasional need to upgrade some systems.
The level of threat — and awareness of that — is undoubtedly rising. In November an analysis by Big Brother Watch (BBW) found that the NHS (including Scotland) had suffered 7,000 data breaches of various kinds in only three years.
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