Cyber security is an integral part of local government’s wider work to digitalise services and improve productivity.
The National Cyber Security Strategy describes ‘cyber security’ as:
the protection of information systems (hardware, software and associated infrastructure), the data on them, and the services they provide, from unauthorised access, harm or misuse. This includes harm caused intentionally by the operator of the system, or accidentally, as a result of failing to follow security procedures.
With councils making more local public services available digitally, getting more of their workforce online and planning greater collaboration and integration work with partner organisations – which requires the sharing of residents’ and business customers’ data – reviewing and reinforcing current cyber security arrangements is a key priority for local authorities.
Councils have data sharing protocols, data handling and management guidance, as well as different levels of access in place for different data sets and systems to manage and protect sensitive data. However, as we have seen through recent cyber-attacks including the WannaCry ransomware attack, those with criminal or hostile intent will continue to try to breach our security to steal the data we hold and/or damage our systems. Therefore, as a sector we need to continuously review, refresh and reinforce our approach to cyber security.
Find out more about some of the potential threats here: Understanding Local Cyber Resilience.
This threat cannot be eliminated completely, but the risk can be greatly reduced to a level that allows us to benefit from the huge opportunities that digital technology brings to public services: Transforming local services through digital.