ICT security ‘lagging behind other shared services’

Local public sector bodies are neglecting ICT security in their drive to share services with partner organisations, according to new research.

A survey carried out by Dods Research, the parent company of Publictechnology.net, on behalf of security supplier Sophos, found that 62% are planning to make budget savings by implementing shared services with other bodies.

However, only 30% said that that this consolidation applies to ICT services, with only 9% saying they are sharing ICT security services.

James Vyvyan, regional vice president of Sophos UK & Ireland, said: “There is a clear trend towards local authorities partnering with neighbouring authorities to increase and implement shared services.

“This collaborative approach is certainly helpful in the fight against cybercrime. Our research indicates that local authorities and police may also be missing the opportunity to consolidate their IT and security technologies, which can deliver further savings, helping to protect jobs and frontline services. ”

 Less than half of staff at local public sector bodies are happy with their organisation’s ICT security practices, according to the survey of more than 2,000 staff in councils and blue light organisations.

It also discovered that only 16% of these bodies are using flexible cloud storage solutions.

Issues such as shadow ICT and Bring Your Own Device scored low on the scale of security concerns. Although 63% said that encryption was becoming more of a necessity in their workplace.

Vyvyan said: “With cybercrime at an all-time high and public sector budgets reducing year-on-year, it’s more important than ever that organisations maximise the resources available to them.”

The research also canvassed public sector opinion about what the biggest drivers for change have been from an IT security point of view, with 59 per cent highlighting the demand for more remote and mobile working practices.

A further 46% cited increased awareness of data security thanks to high profile security breaches and upcoming EU legislation.

When asked directly what their main concerns were from an IT security point of view, the research found that, issues around data loss (47 per cent) were at the top of the agenda followed by remote access (31%) and targeted attacks (25%).

Colin Marrs

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