Telecare services has always demanded reliability in its underlying technology and data. Currently, most TEC services connect to end users across traditional phone lines. However, telecoms providers – the likes of BT and Virgin Media - are stating that these phone lines will disappear by 2025, that the switchover is already underway and we will all convert to digital telephony. The impact on the TEC sector could be significant - alarm systems need to be re-tested, upgraded or decommissioned. This presents a risk but also an opportunity for new digital enablement of care.
The advantage of the older analogue alarm systems is their presented natural barrier to ‘cyber threats’, at least for end user devices. So, the shift to digital highlights a need for vigilance in terms of cyber and data security. The Local Government Association commissioned TSA during 2018-2019 to research the state of ‘data and cyber security’ across the UK TEC sector. The research found that Alarm Receiving Centres can range between two extremes:
The research also found that 76% of TEC services are part of larger organisations and benefit from ‘parent’ services (eg. housing association or council), although not always specialist in support for life critical alarm systems.
The number or organisations adopting fully digital services is low, where only 14% have adopted internet IP-connected devices at scale and adapted their systems, infrastructure and processes.
The study identified significant variation in the awareness and planning for data and cyber security, with emphasis on three particular threats:
The areas of highest risk to the TEC service provider organisations were identified as:
See the full report and recommendations published by the TSA here: https://www.tsa-voice.org.uk/membership/member-resources/
To hear more about the Digital Shift come hear the Experts Panel Debate ‘Citizen Powered Technological Enablement’ on Day 2 at 11:35 on Main Stage, Chaired by Paul Burstow, covering topics: Analogue to digital update – where are we now? How do you exploit digital and data in healthcare; Delivering digital at scale; Risks to data and cyber protection - https://itecconf.org.uk/programme/