The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust

Increasing security visibility through a single pane view to stay better protected

Overview

‘If you connect it, protect it’  is a slogan which we absolutely advocate. Yet, how can you protect something if you don’t know it exists? Security risks increase when there is a lack of complete and accurate visibility of what hardware and software assets are connecting to the network, as well as what applications and systems might be running on them. The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust knew that to fully protect its IT infrastructure and be assured of its defences, it needed a greater awareness of its connected IT assets, especially as it was embarking on a move to a brand new hospital.


The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust is one of the UK’s leading cancer centres providing highly specialist cancer care to a population of 2.4m people across Cheshire, Merseyside and the surrounding areas including the Isle of Man. With three specialist cancer centres in Liverpool, Wirral and Aintree, they also operate specialist chemotherapy clinics in seven of Merseyside’s district hospitals and deliver a pioneering ‘Treatment at Home’ service.

Challenge

The Digital Team at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre was lacking a clear and concise view of its infrastructure. Tools were naturally in place to secure and capture network information, but each tool had its own reporting mechanisms and view of the IT environment, as well as often being managed by different IT departments. Although the individual tools offered data that was timely and contextual, if the Digital Team attempted to look at this data in aggregate, visibility gaps began to form.

With a pending move to a new 11-floor specialist cancer hospital in Liverpool, the Digital Team wanted to be assured of its defences and compliance, and so needed to have access to a ‘bigger picture’ – to have an overall visibility of the state of its infrastructure and connected assets that it knew it could trust.

The Trust also wanted to see if it could reduce the amount of time and resource that was being spent managing NHS Digital Cyber Alerts and ensuring compliance to the Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPT).

Solution

The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre is part of the Cheshire and Merseyside Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) and the Trust’s challenges were found to be common amongst this wider group. ITHealth presented its Assurance Dashboard Solution and The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, along with a number of other participating Trusts, could quickly see how it would improve security visibility of their related infrastructures – making pertinent security and asset information easy to see and manage.

“With the Dashboard, I can now see the security state of our infrastructure through one single pane of glass and the reporting function is excellent,” said Richard Pilkington, IT Security Manager, The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust.

ITHealth implemented the solution at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre in June 2020 and Richard confirmed that the Dashboard has helped immensely with the Trust’s move to the new Liverpool hospital. “With the introduction of a VDI estate at the new hospital the dashboard lets us monitor these devices remotely ensuring that there are no issues and that availability is very high,” continued Richard.

The Dashboard Solution frequently scans The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre’s network and pulls all IP addressable asset information into a single, visual dashboard presenting it in a dynamic risk-based context. The Trust like how they can now easily see when devices were last patched and where updates are missing, where anti-virus is missing or disabled, as well as quickly pinpoint devices with known vulnerabilities – and do so from the same place with information that is in almost real-time.

“The NHS Digital Cyber Alert reports in the Dashboard have also been hugely beneficial. The Dashboard automates much of the Cyber Alert process for us, so we can easily see where affected assets are resolved or remain outstanding,” said Richard.

Results

Along with The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, eight NHS Trusts from Cheshire and Merseyside’s STP now have the Assurance Dashboard Solution from ITHealth.

For The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, particular benefits are as follows:

  • A single pane of glass view
    By far, the greatest benefit is the increased security visibility that the Dashboard provides – the Trust’s security posture is now viewable through a single pane. The Trust accesses one Dashboard for live reports of issues, rather than relying on moment-in-time reports from disparate tools – plus any effects of remediation can be monitored in the Dashboard in near real-time.
  • Enabling collaboration instead of re-enforcing silos
    The Trust’s Digital Teams now unite around a common view of actionable data within the Dashboard for true visibility and control over all infrastructure assets. Desktop and server teams use it to monitor patch deployment, whilst the OP’s team use it for identifying non-compliant anomalies, e.g. uninstalled anti-virus or devices without encryption.
  • Paring-down the use of other IT tools
    The Trust has now stopped using a separate vulnerability scanning tool and instead relies solely on the Dashboard to highlight vulnerabilities that require attention. In addition, the Trust’s software asset and licence management solution is being retired in favour of the ITHealth Dashboard – which, in turn, is simplifying security and reducing complexity for the Trust.
  • Streamlined and simplified reporting
    Not only are all pertinent security reports viewable at-a-glance or downloadable at the click of a button with the Dashboard, but ITHealth also supplies the Trust with a monthly snapshot of its cyber security status quo by way of professionally produced reports. Key areas for concern are highlighted, as well as trends over time so any deviations from ‘the norm’ can be closely monitored.

“The ITHealth Dashboard has enabled me to perform my role as cyber and security manager to a much higher standard. It has also been warmly received by other groups within the department such as Desktop and Server Support,” concluded Richard Pilkington, IT Security Manager, The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust.

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