UK vaccine rollout begins and Well.Me tracker launches
The UK has become the first country to roll out a Covid-19 vaccine. The Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine is being offered in around 70 hospitals to healthcare workers at high risk of contracting the virus, people who work in care homes, and people over the age of 80.
The British Government has placed orders for 40 million doses of the vaccine in total, enough for 20 million as two separate doses are needed. While most won't arrive until 2021, it is hoped a further four million doses will be available before the year ends, which will be offered to the most vulnerable groups of people first.
In the meantime, the Government has urged people to continue following guidelines to reduce the risk of infection, including social distancing and frequent handwashing. In its Covid-19 Winter Plan, the Prime Minister writes that vaccines will be dispensed as quickly as possible, but as this will take time other tools like rapid turnaround tests will be deployed, particularly to identify and isolate people who do not have symptoms but are unintentionally spreading the virus.
The tests are being given to frontline staff in healthcare, social care and other high risk settings, as well as schools and universities so they can remain open. Covid tests can also be purchased and paid for privately.
Some employers are using digital healthcare tools that can track symptoms to identify potential transmissions. Siemens, National Grid, the Department of Health and the BBC are using Well.Me, a digital health monitoring company that has just launched a new system specifically to track vaccine rollout.
This will provide companies with a database of employees that have received the vaccine, which could enable a digital Covid “freedom pass” for staff. Well.Me says this is the first solution capable of offering workplaces the opportunity to implement a vaccine monitoring system.
Check Point: Securing the future of enterprise IT
Cybersecurity solutions provider Check Point was founded in 1993 with a mission to secure ‘everything,’ and that includes the cloud. Conscious that nothing remains static in the digital world, the company prides itself on an ability to integrate new technology with its solutions. Across almost three decades in operation, Check Point, with its team of over 3,500 experts, has become adept at protecting networks, endpoints, mobile, IoT, and cloud.
“The pandemic has been somewhat of an accelerator in the evolution of cyber risk,” explains Erez Yarkoni, Global VP for Cloud Business. “We had remote workers and cloud adoption a long time beforehand, but now the volume and surface area is far greater.” Formerly a CIO for several big-name telcos before joining Check Point in 2019, Yarkoni considers the cloud to be “part of [his] heritage” and one of modern IT’s most valuable tools.
Check Point has three important ‘product families’, Quantum, CloudGuard, and Harmony, with each one providing another layer of holistic IT protection:
- Quantum: secures enterprise networks from sophisticated cyber attacks
- CloudGuard: acts as a scalable and unified cloud-native security platform for the protection of any cloud
- Harmony: protects remote users and devices from cyber threats that might compromise organisational data
However, more than just providing security, Yarkoni emphasises the need for software to be proactive and minimise the possibility of threats in the first instance. This is something Check Point assuredly delivers, “the industry recognises that preventing, not just detecting, is crucial. Check Point has one platform that gives customers the end-to-end cover they need; they don't have to go anywhere else. That level of threat prevention capability is core to our DNA and across all three product lines.”
In many ways, Check Point’s solutions’ capabilities have actually converged to meet the exact working requirements of contemporary enterprise IT. As more companies embark on their own digital transformation journeys in the wake of COVID-19, the inevitability of unforeseen threats increases, which also makes forming security-based partnerships essential. Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) sought out Check Point for this very reason when it was in the process of selecting Microsoft Azure as its cloud provider. “Let's be clear: Azure is a secure cloud, but when you operate in a cloud you need several layers of security and governance to prevent mistakes from becoming risks,” Yarkoni clarifies.
The partnership is a distinctly three-way split, with each bringing its own core expertise and competencies. More than that, Check Point, HOOPP and Microsoft are all invested in deepening their understanding of each other at an engineering and developmental level. “Both of our organisations (Check Point and Microsoft) are customer-obsessed: we look at the problem from the eyes of the customer and ask, ‘Are we creating value?’” That kind of focus is proving to be invaluable in the digital era, when the challenges and threats of tomorrow remain unpredictable. In this climate, only the best protected will survive and Check Point is standing by, ready to help.
“HOOPP is an amazing organisation,” concludes Yarkoni. “For us to be successful with a customer and be selected as a partner is actually a badge of honor. It says, ‘We passed a very intense and in-depth inspection by very smart people,’ and for me that’s the best thing about working with organisations like HOOPP.”