Novell seals Cornish health email deal

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Novell has announced a deal with the Cornish health service to move the organisation from Exchange and Active Directory and provide its own email and directory support and services.

Cornwall Health Informatics hopes the switch will bring greater security and protection from viruses as well as providing secure remote access for staff and delivering lower licensing costs.

The 12,000-user organisation said a recent flurry of patching activity on Microsoft systems and the tendency for Microsoft applications to be the target of malicious activity is one of the major reasons for the switch, claiming an escape from this seemingly incessant task will lower administration costs.

Tony Bray, technical service manager for Cornwall Health Informatics Service, told that security was always the top priority in planning any switch.

"The confidentiality of patient data has to be the most important thing. We need to keep everything as locked away as possible."

However, with any kind of health service IT project cost was also a major factor according to Bray - though he admitted this has had a tendency to leave public sector IT - and the NHS in particular - lagging behind in the IT 'dark ages'.

"We had to do this at as low a cost as possible," he told "We're trying to bring the health service into the next century and we're trying to follow many of the trends in the private sector [such as increased mobility] but we're trying to do it on a much tighter budget," he said.

The Cornish deal is the latest in a spate of recent health service announcements which suggest organisations are now waking up to the specific challenges now facing health service IT in the 21st century and the solutions available.