NHS Digital has set up an agreement with Microsoft that will provide support in detecting cyber threats to IT systems relying on outdated operating systems until the middle of next year
The provider of data and IT services for health and social care bodies has reached a custom support agreement with the software giant that will be available to all NHS organisations.
It will involve Microsoft providing patches and updates for all existing Windows devices operating on Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and SQL 2005 – which are no longer supported on a standard basis by the company.
The move comes three months after several hospitals were badly hit by the attack of the WannaCry virus, which highlighted vulnerabilities in cyber security around the NHS; although NHS Digital emphasised the significance of recommendations by the National Data Guardian for the health service.
A spokesperson said: “The Government response to the National Data Guardian’s review referred to ‘working in partnership with Microsoft to help mitigate the immediate risks associated with unsupported software’. Part of this work has now culminated in a new custom support agreement between NHS Digital and Microsoft.
“Microsoft will provide NHS Digital with a centralised, managed, and coordinated framework for the detection of malicious cyber activity through its Enterprise Threat Detection (ETD) service. The ETD analyses intelligence and aims to reduce the likelihood and impact of security breaches or malware infection across the NHS.
“This contract with Microsoft runs until June 2018 and is in line with similar agreements between Microsoft and other government departments.