GP surgeries could be fertile ground for security players


GP surgeries could be fertile ground for security players

Simon Quicke

The prospect of GPs being given more responsibility for patient data as the government looks to devolve responsibility for IT spending down to local surgeries away from NHS primary care trusts is causing some channel security players concern.

The fears are that without access to the IT resources enjoyed by large hospitals the GPs will become targets of attacks and will become a weak link in the system designed to prevent the leaking of patient data.

The health secretary Andrew Lansley recently set out plans to put the £80bn commissioning budget into the hands of GP groups, which would include decentralising the decision making around IT.

At the moment the public consider those operating in the health sector to be the most trustworthy in looking after their data, according to a Websense survey released yesterday, but this could change as the government makes changes.

Alex Teh, commercial director at Vigil, said that the trust in the health sector could unravel fairly quickly if GPs failed to look after highly sensitive data.

"GP practices do not have the same IT infrastructure and resources or the same level of security consciousness that a primary care trust does," he said.

"Although the public may think they are going to keep information secure I am not so sure about that," he added.

With most GP surgeries falling into the small business category based on headcount those security vendors pushing products at the SME market are looking to channel partners to focus their efforts on selling to doctors.

"GP surgeries are the same as other SMEs and they are becoming increasing tech savvy but need help with technical expertise and are looking for [a reseller] that can deliver excellent service and plug the gap," said Ed Rowley, senior product manager at M86 Security.

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