How Can Public Sector IT Teams Enhance Cybersecurity?

  • 9th September 2021 at 4:49PM
  • Written by Steve White, Head of Transformation Accounts, Yotta
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Over the last 18 months, the demands on public sector IT have been greater than ever. From enabling remote working to keeping legacy systems secure, IT teams have certainly had their hands full.

Updating on-premise legacy systems, which were possibly created 20-30 years ago, is a particularly tough challenge for public sector companies. That’s because these systems were never built with security in mind.

The effectiveness of the public sector system’s security typically depends on a number of factors, such as how efficiently suppliers provide updates and how often local authorities and other bodies apply them. It also depends on the security of the networks these systems sit on. If the networks themselves aren’t secure, how can the systems be? And that sends an open invitation to cybercriminals to steal sensitive data.

So how can public sector IT teams deliver on cybersecurity and protect their systems from hackers?

 

Updating technology

The first thing to evaluate is the technology. Is it fit-for-purpose and reliable? Does it meet our requirements? Can we keep it secure? If the answer to any of these questions is no, it’s time to upgrade.

We have seen more and more public sector companies move to a cloud-first policy for their systems. And that in itself is a good step towards implementing better cybersecurity practices. It is important that when looking to update technologies, public sector IT teams look at how their third-party providers ensure cybersecurity. At Yotta we take the security of our customers very seriously. We have a Cyber Essentials certification which was achieved through a government-backed, industry-supported scheme, so our solutions meet the latest security levels for your peace of mind.

 

The people factor

Security is everybody’s responsibility. That’s why it’s important to educate employees at all levels about the potential threats, how to spot them, and what damage they could cause to the business. Especially in the current remote working or hybrid working climate where we take our laptops home, use personal devices for work or forget to implement multi-factor authentications.

IT teams need to become good communicators to help their staff understand what they as individuals can do to keep themselves and the company safe. Raising security awareness and conducting regular training across all departments is a key part of that.

 

Protecting sensitive data

Protecting personal and financial data is required by law. That means local authorities and other public sector companies have to up their cybersecurity game to prevent sensitive information from leaking. Encryption is a very good practice here, but it has to be done both in storage and in transit. Implementing the highest standards of encryption and evolving practices over time will help IT teams better overcome the emerging threats and the ever-growing sophistication of cyberattacks.

And more attacks and data breaches will happen in the future as we connect more devices and sensors on, for example, our smart cars. Widening the network presents a serious risk as the possibility of an attack increases when there are more entry points. Once again, the pressure is on IT professionals to secure the systems and access points to future-proof them. And they are more than capable of doing that, but only if they update their technologies and raise a company-wide cybersecurity awareness.