Health service uses real-time endpoint data to patch, update, and configure assets
National Health Service (NHS) Informatics Merseyside has chosen the Tanium platform to protect its IT estate through improved cyber hygiene and increased patch management capabilities.
NHS Informatics Merseyside is the digital support organisation for some 25,000 NHS professionals working across 240 locations, providing oversight and support for nearly 16,000 desktop and laptop PCs, more than 8,000 mobile devices, and some 325 digital systems.
“Patching is a vital aspect of maintaining high levels of cyber hygiene, but disparate point tools made the process inefficient and laborious,” said Steven Parker, associate director of IT at Informatics Merseyside.
“Each week we receive an email from NHS England informing us of patches that need to be deployed, including high-priority patches that have to release within 24 hours.
“The Tanium platform gave us a single pane of glass to view multiple systems, allowing us to ensure proper patching across teams and systems and replacing some of the redundant solutions in our toolbox, thus improving our return on investment across IT.”
Each year, NHS staff sends Informatics Merseyside some 160,000 requests for IT support.
And, during the pandemic, many staff members turned to third-party applications, such as Zoom, to keep vital health services running and to continue collaborating when face-to-face contact was not possible.
Thousands of staff started using new software overnight to continue delivering a high level of patient care; but such increased application use also increased complexity throughout the IT environment.
“Prior to Tanium, we were relying on several solutions to pull IT and security data that was often several days old at the time of reporting,” said NHS Informatics Merseyside assistant director of IT, Rob Tinkler.
“It was also incredible to discover how many of our machines had been patched but not restarted.
“Now, with the click of a button, Tanium gives us the live data we need to identify, restart, and provision these machines, increasing endpoint visibility across the organisation and enabling us to address vulnerabilities in real time.”
Older endpoint information, coupled with retired versions of operating systems on many machines, made it virtually impossible for NHS to discover and update assets that were insufficiently patched, installed, or configured.
The Tanium XEM platform not only delivered real-time endpoint data to identify potential threats, it also provided information to allow service desk technicians to resolve staff IT issues quickly and create reports that relayed an accurate view of the IT estate to other NHS teams.