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Metrarc wins funding from Innovate UK for data protection research

last modified Mar 31, 2016 02:16 PM
Cambridge-based Metrarc is part of a consortium which has won funding worth nearly £400,000 from Innovate UK to combat growing security threats to the management of personal health data.

Through the Protecting Data in Industry scheme Innovate UK is investing £4million into collaborative research and development projects that tackle the growing risks of disruption to internet-enabled businesses and their digital supply chain. 

The Internet of Things (IoT) - the growing interconnectivity between electronic devices, sensors and software - is posing significant challenges to existing data protection strategies as new sources of data multiply and the digital footprint of end-users expands. Innovate UK wants to encourage the development of new systems which will adequately protect the interests of business and industry users while also helping us fully understand the impact of any disruptions or security threats.  

ideaSpace company Metrarc is working in a consortium with partners Liverpool-based AIMES Grid Services and Southampton-based IT Innovations on the £550,000 project ASSURED – Automated Security for Supplier-User Reference models in E-health Data. 

This project will accelerate access to data for organisations that design and operate secure platforms and networks in the health supply chain.

ASSURED will enable organisations to automatically identify threats to their networks and services and evaluate compliance to health data security standards for managing risks to systems and data. 

The project will address the concerns of health suppliers looking to open up data sets, for example, from NHS N3 connected systems to the wider digital supply chain. 

 Currently companies wishing to work with personal health data records face long lead-in times to satisfy IT governance procedures and face ongoing threats and costs from the loss or release of data which can identify patients.  

ASSURED will massively speed up the approval process and significantly reduce security risks during operation by enabling continuous automated verification against a changing threat landscape and compliance requirements.

 Metrarc Founder Karl Heeks said: “Personal health data such as NHS data has huge potential value in traditional industries such as drug design and new emerging ones such as personalised health.  

“The major barriers to innovation are around data security and legal compliance and a highly trusted business model and process are needed to access data. ASSURED is designed to address these challenges by speeding up the approval process and improving the level of assurance systems once connected to networks."

The ASSURED project is collaborative and business-led, bringing together leading UK digital health innovator AIMES and leading data security technology from Metrarc and the University of Southampton's IT Innovation Centre.

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