Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport

National Cyber Security Centre Review: Discussion

Photo of Ossian SmythOssian Smyth (Dún Laoghaire, Green Party) | Oireachtas source

They have made enormous progress. They had already made enormous progress before the attack. Obviously, the attack has brought into focus the importance of the HSE's IT infrastructure. We saw happened when its information systems were down. Hospitals were able continue to function, but everything was much slower.

I understand that, for example, people in accident and emergency departments were frustrated by having to wait ages to get lab test results or look up information about patients. The latter leads to worse patient outcomes. If anything, it was a demonstration of the value of IT and of the importance of having information about patients and the illnesses they are suffering immediately to hand.

Progress had been made up to that point and much more progress will be made into the future. Many of the systems in the HSE have had to be rebuilt from the ground up and a lot of areas of HSE estate that were not thought of very often, such as parts of the 2000 systems that were not very prominent, are now better understood. One of the principles of cybersecurity and of trying to protect any organisation is that there is a complete list of all of the things that need to be protected, that there is a full inventory and that one is familiar with having to build those systems from the ground up whenever that is needed. The HSE is in a much stronger position as a result of that and it is a much more resilient organisation now than it would have been six months ago.


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