UK government agencies changing approach to data security

The survey, which took in responses from IT department professionals in both large and small councils, London boroughs and police authorities across the UK, noted that 50% of public sector organisations are now protecting their sensitive data, compared to just 10% around 12 months ago.

BeCrypt says that researchers also found that almost 90% of councils are on track to link to the Government Connect Secure Extranet (GCSx) by the end of March this year.

Connection to the GCSx - a secure private wide area network which enables secure interactions between connected local authorities and other organisations - requires a relatively high level of security on connected systems, Infosecurity notes.

The GCSx is connected to the Government Secure Intranet, which enables secure interactions between local authorities and central government departments plus national bodies.

The BeCrypt survey methodology was to question how the organisations are approaching the new requirement to join GCSx and how they are safeguarding data with the provision of more flexible working for staff and extending services to citizens.

The research found that a number of councils have put in procedures to manage the use of USB devices - with 57% of councils - an increase of nearly almost 20% year-on-year - now have a port control solution in place, as do more than 80% of police authorities.

Many, says BeCrypt, also report fewer instances of data loss over the last twelve months compared with the previous year.

Commenting on the results of the survey, Bernard Parsons, BeCrypt's CEO, said that they show a real change in the way that data security is considered and managed in the public sector.

The company's findings, he says, illustrate 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 more to be done.

Changes in policy over the last 12 months, he adds, have had a very real affect on attitudes and thinking across local authorities and police forces, and his firm expects this to continue.

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