With medical staff already stretched to the limit, the NHS in Wales has reached out for IT support. Many of the hospitals and medical centres around Wales have just received new desktops and laptops to help deal with the increase in demand on their services. The usual available contractors are unable to handle the workload of requirements such as imaging, configuration and securing new end points, so Cyber Wales has been asked to step in, and there has been a terrific response already.
John Davies, Managing Director of Pervade Software and Chair of Cyber Wales said: “With our knowledge and skills, this is one area where the cyber community in Wales can offer practical help. To show the scale of the problem, one hospital just took delivery of 1,000 machines and there is no-one there to set them up. This is happening across Wales right now - we know that the Welsh cyber community will respond positively to the call.”
Assistance could be in the form of visiting sites to set up machines, or dialing into sites to set up by Remote Desktop Protocol, receiving machines, setting them up and sending them back again, or any other clever ideas that can prove beneficial to medical staff.
Nick Lewis, IT Security Manager with the NHS in Wales said: "NHS Wales says a huge thank you to all of the Cyber Wales cluster members who have been sending messages of support. Thank you for looking after us while we try and look after you.”
Wales is a leading hub in the cyber security sector, a priority for Welsh Government who support the sector to enable companies in Wales to produce the breakthroughs needed to fight back against the cyber threat.
Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, Ken Skates said:
“The internationally-renowned cyber security sector, which the Welsh Government has helped build, is deploying its considerable expertise to help tackle the many challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
“I am proud the sector is responding to this unprecedented public health crisis by offering its full support to the NHS.”
Pervade Software have mobilised their own staff to help the NHS in Wales: “We have teams installing our OpView SIEM system into eight NHS trusts as we speak, so we have people on hand already,” said John Davies.
Another Welsh company, Awen Collective, is offering free cyber healthcheck to the healthcare sector. The Caerphilly-based, award winning software firm is offering its Profile cyber software free throughout 2020 to all healthcare providers, including suppliers and manufacturers of ventilators, face masks and hand sanitisers.
Awen Collective CEO and Cofounder Daniel Lewis said: “Our critical yet vulnerable health services need all the help they can get right now, so we’re doing what we can to keep them focused on delivering their critical services. Unbelievably, there’s already evidence of international cyber attacks targeted at healthcare services during the Coronavirus outbreak, so they need as much protection as possible at this crucial time.”
Wales has a thriving cyber ecosystem, one of the largest in the UK, with companies such as Airbus, Thales, BT, Aston Martin, General Dynamics and SANS Institute choosing to locate either their European headquarters or significant cyber operations in and around south Wales.
John Davies again: “With over 2,000 members, the Cyber Security Clusters in North and South Wales have continued to grow since 2014, and include the Education & Training, Data Privacy, Critical National Infrastructure and Women in Cyber Clusters.”