A survey has found that more than half of councils do not use cloud applications, while most of those that do are unaware of whether they can monitor sensitive information accessed through them.
Cloud applications not widely used local government – Photo credit: Fotolia
The survey, which was carried out by iGov Survey and cloud-based data protection provider Druva in the last quarter of 2015, asked 70 councils about data protection within their organisations.
It found that almost two-thirds of respondents did not use cloud applications.
Of the 31% that said they did use cloud systems, just 30% said they were able to monitor the sensitive data accessed through the applications. Some 42% said they did not know whether such data could be monitored.
The survey also looked at the use of mobile devices in councils. Some 41% of respondents said that more than 50% of their staff had mobile devices for work, and 65% of council representatives said that more than 75% of those were encrypted.
However, there was less awareness of the EU’s general data protection regulation, which is due to come into force before the UK would leave the union, with just a third saying they were fully aware. A further 59% said they had a limited awareness.
The survey also found that 31% of respondents were planning to update their data security strategies to meet the new requirements, while 53% said they needed to do more research into what the laws entail.
Councils also felt they would benefit from more training on data protection: just 28% said training was not required, while 17% said they needed a better understanding to update their strategy and 47% said it would be beneficial.
Rick Powles, senior vice president at Druva, said it was positive that local government recognised the need to better understand the impact of data protection requirements.
“Protecting sensitive information must remain a top priority for local governments as well as staying informed of not only changes in legislation but tools that can better equip them for the future,” he said.