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Monday 24th October 2016

USB stick lock down

9th September 2008

NHS Lothian is in the process of implementing measures to stop staff misplacing information stored on USB sticks, following an incident where the details of 137 patients were mislaid at the end of June.


The lost information included letters sent to doctors in central Edinburgh. Since then, the trust has begun a "USB stick amnesty" and added pamphlets about data security to staff pay slips.

They have also purchased a "technological solution" that will enable the trust to manage which staff can move the information.

Martin Egan, director of e-health, said: "We have put the message out before, but internal surveys suggest that some staff are ignoring it – so we felt we needed a technical solution as well. That is why we are implementing the USB lock down."

He added that the lock down meant that no USB stick "can be written to" unless it comes from the trust and has data which is encrypted.

Mr Egan told E-Health Insider that he thought the new solution allowed the trust to have more control over its information.

NHS Lothian has also purchased encryption software for its laptops.

The trust has purchased Lumension Security’s Sanctuary Device Control to use for the lock down.

Mr Egan said the trust was still in the process of gathering the old USB sticks and giving out the new ones.

"We have purchased 4,000 new USB sticks, which we think will be enough," he said. "But one of the principles of the new policy is that these will be issued carefully."


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