St Helens and Knowsley Health Informatics

Consolidating cyber security to allow solutions to share information


St Helens and Knowsley Health Informatics has steadily matured into a unique, award-winning, shared service that provides infrastructures and IT solutions to support patient care. Over time the organisation had accumulated a disparate set of solutions provided by different suppliers. As a result, the organisation took the step to consolidate its IT security products and was able to do so quickly and cost effectively by working closely together with Sophos and Sophos Select Partner, ITHealth.


StHK HIS wanted to shift its approach to IT security and minimise the number of suppliers and products they were using (including anti-virus, network, email and web protection). The objective was to become more efficient with their time, and to reduce costs. The team also wanted to implement more effective solutions – a number of their existing products weren’t providing them with the level of protection expected and they wanted to reduce potential vulnerabilities impacting their security set-up. StHK HIS was ultimately looking to build a good, solid solution that was flexible enough to cope with the everchanging NHS environment.

“If Sophos hadn’t been flexible with their pricing during the business case change we wouldn’t have been able to move forward. Pricing from both parties was excellent”, said Rob Tinkler, Senior IT Project Manager, St Helens and Knowsley Health Informatics Service.


The StHK HIS project team, headed up by Senior IT Project Manager, Rob Tinkler, began the consolidation exercise. Rob began discussing his challenges with ITHealth and agreed that Sophos solutions were ideal alternatives to the disparate product set the organisation was using at the time. Together, ITHealth and StHK HIS looked at all the separate systems to fully identify the requirements and find a suitable technical solution.

ITHealth, armed with all the information they needed, then created a proposal that included Sophos UTM (Unified Threat Management) and Sophos Central (cloud-based endpoint and server management console), providing the consolidated solution and costs StHK HIS required.

StHK HIS went ahead with the proposal and implementation began in July 2017. Sophos and ITHealth honoured their initial pricing during this time. According to Rob: ”Without this flexibility during the business case stage we wouldn’t have been able to move forward. Pricing from both parties was excellent.”

StHK HIS has now implemented eight Sophos UTMs; four are providing security for the internet connections and four provide security for the N3 connections, the national broadband network for the NHS. Sophos Central has also been installed, replacing Microsoft System Center Endpoint Protection (SCEP) and providing a unified console for managing all Sophos products.


St Helens and Knowsley HIS lists the benefits of the consolidation process as being:

  • An easy-to-understand proposal and simple implementation
  • A flexible approach to pricing from both ITHealth  and Sophos
  • An open, honest and transparent way of collaborating
  • Increased threat visibility using fit-for-purpose solutions
  • Consolidated reporting from a ‘single pane of glass’
  • Improved efficiencies and time savings
  • No more separate, costly contracts from disparate vendors
  • A single point of contact for all support
  • Reduced training requirements due to fewer products in use

St Helens and Knowsley HIS is now in discussion with ITHealth and Sophos around an alternative to their existing VPN client and also Intercept X for ransomware protection.

Rob concludes: ”If it wasn’t for the flexibility in their approach to our timetable and budget, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Early indicators tell us that this is the perfect consolidation solution for us.”