Ambulance services enhances IT security

17 February 2020

The North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (NEAS) operates across Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, County Durham, Darlington and Teesside.

It provides emergency care services to respond to 999 calls and a Patient Transport Service (PTS) for pre-planned non-emergency transport to help patients in the region.

A team of five IT systems senior analysts at NEAS manage 900 endpoints at multiple sites across the northeast of the UK, from the Scottish borders to North Yorkshire. However, they were facing a number of challenges, including complex security requirements as a mobile ambulance trust, issues around visibility of threats and consolidation of IT security to a single synchronised platform.

Sophos EndPoint Protection was due for renewal, so the NEAS IT team decided to explore wider propositions from Sophos with the support of its Sophos partner, Trustmarque. After a number of meetings in which it discussed several Sophos offerings – including next-generation firewalls, Sophos Synchronized Security, Sophos UTM and Endpoint Protection – the team decided to move forward with a complete solution from Sophos to improve its IT security and upgrade the traditional on-premises line-up. NEAS has now implemented the following products:

• Sophos Central with Server Protection Advanced – a unified console for managing Sophos products

• Sophos EndPoint Protection (five-year renewal) – prevention, detection, and response technology

• Sophos UTM – a unified network security package in a single modular appliance

• Sophos RED – which makes extending a secure network to other locations easy. In this case, it was used to access patient data. RED was tested with the air ambulance service, allowing first responders to securely access patient files while mobile.

NEAS placed the order through Sophos partner Trustmarque.  NEAS reduced its IT security risks through increased visibility of threats using one synchronised platform.

“Our key objectives in the procurement of this security software were to reduce management time and ensure a seamless migration from the existing software,” says NEAS IT technical engineer Daniel Malone. “Many of our challenges were overcome with the procurement, ensuring that our information is now secure.” 

Among its future plans, NEAS intends to further upgrade its existing Wi-Fi solution and implement Intercept X, a next-gen anti-ransomware, anti-exploit solution, and will work closely with both Sophos and Trustmarque to implement these additional improvements.