NHS IT expert bleating about encryption issues

After spending eleven years working for the NHS in several roles, and watching the (really) slow evolution of the NHSNet, the national health super network, I nearly fell off my chair with amusement at the comments of Mike Ferrar, earlier this week.

Ferrar is the Director of Infrastructure for the Technology Office at NHS Connecting for Health - how about that for a title, eh folks - and was speaking earlier this week at the London Gartner IT summit.

He was talking about some of the problems that McAfee had with the size of the NHS' encryption project needs.

According to Ferrar, the job of encrypting data for the NHS was analogous to being like "700 new customers" for McAfee with around 700,000 PCs that McAfee had to kit out with encryption in England.

"It is quite a challenge," said Ferrar. "But we make no apologies for that. They are all pressing the doorbell saying they need help, how it does this and how do we configure it like this," he said.

According to ITPro, which reported on Ferrar's speech, another problem he spoke about was that the NHS has a wide number of mobile devices inside its operations.

Now here's the killer - when asked the question about why one standard device was not used for all the doctors and staff, he replied that there was a problem because there was a huge amount of choice -
especially for mobile phones.

So? It's still possible to mandate the supply of a small number of mobile devices for staff and only support those models.

If I were McAfee, I'd be feeling a little maligned by Ferrar's comments, but then, he is Infrastructure for the Technology Office at NHS Connecting for Health...