50% of councils adopted measures to avert breaches, says survey
The UK public sector organisations are bracing up to face the data security challenges coming their way. About 50% of the local councils have already put data security systems in place while 90% are ready to join the new Government Connect Secure Extranet (GCSx) by 31st March 2009.
A survey carried out by encryption and data security specialist BeCrypt has found that the number of councils which have adopted security measures has gone up to 50% from only 10% recorded in the previous survey undertaken in October 2007.
The survey covered IT department professionals in councils, London boroughs and police authorities. It questioned them about the organisations’ preparedness to meet the requirement to join GCSx. GCSx is a secure private WAN that enables interactions between connected local authorities and organisations.
The survey also asked the respondents about the measures being taken to safeguard data even while providing more flexible working for staff and extending services to citizens.
Bernard Parsons, CEO at BeCrypt said: “The survey results show real change in the way that data security is considered and managed. Our findings demonstrate that while there has been a marked improvement in the number of local authorities implementing data security policies, for many of them there is still much to be done. Changes in policy over the last 12 months have had a very real affect on attitudes and thinking across local authorities and police forces, and we expect this to continue.”
The survey has found that many councils now have defined procedures to use USB devices. About 57% of councils and 80% of police authorities have adopted a port control system.
BeCrypt’s survey comes as a relief amidst reports of serious data breaches reported in 2008. One of the prominent breaches was the loss of a USB device containing patients’ personal information. An unencrypted laptop containing personal information on 600,000 applicants was lost from the Ministry of Defence.