UK Hospital System Deploys E-Mail Encryption

Voltage Security has announced that Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in the United Kingdom has deployed Voltage SecureMail to protect sensitive information that may be contained in e-mail messages.

Unlike other government approaches to messaging security, Voltage SecureMail allows the Trust to encrypt both internal and external communication with a minimum amount of effort by users, administrators and management. As a result, the hospitals are able to protect patient data and comply with National Health Service (NHS) and other regulations, while keeping overall costs low.

"Deploying Voltage email encryption is win-win situation for us: end users get an easy and straightforward experience and administrators don’t have to manage encryption keys, software downloads or installation of files," said Saeed Umar, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals’ IT project manager. "The system really needed to be easy and intuitive, or no one would use it. We looked closely at other options, but they were all a bit 'messy' and highly involved for users and administrators."

By contrast, the Voltage SecureMail system is simple. Voltage pioneered the underlying cryptographic approach, Identity-Based Encryption (IBE), to develop this and other security solutions.

IBE enables the system to easily scale and provide centralized key management. And it eliminates the need for digitally signed certificates that make encryption cumbersome. The system also makes things simpler for administrators by storing just one copy of each message, Umar said.

That keeps overhead low, makes it easier to secure stored messages, and eliminates the key match-up problems that can occur with competing products. Administrators can also run reports to see what is being encrypted and where.

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals decided to deploy Voltage SecureMail partly in response to a series of recent high-profile data-loss incidents. While Lancashire Teaching Hospitals has not been involved in any of these cases, the IT staff wanted to strengthen their data protection in cooperation with NHS “Connecting for Health” efforts.

The adoption of Voltage e-mail security is part of an organization-wide data loss prevention initiative aimed at protecting sensitive data, such as NHS numbers, employment information, and care records, as well as complying with the Information Governance Assurance Programme and NHS regulations.

"Voltage SecureMail gives us peace of mind," Umar said. "We were the only NHS trust that had the ability to send encrypted e-mail. However, we’re now being joined by other NHS organizations, and we’re currently assisting community hospitals to reap the benefits as well."

Since deploying Voltage SecureMail, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals’ staff has had no problems using the system.

"We've set up a dedicated how-to section, but no one ever comes looking for help," Umar said.

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